EU pesticide policies are hair-raising: it is time to #DetoxEUAgriculture! The Good Food Good Farming movement called on the European institutions for pesticide-free agriculture, on 27 October on Place du Luxembourg in Brussels.
The EU is updating its regulation on the sustainable use of pesticides (SUR). But instead of paving the way for sustainable and toxic-free agriculture, the European Commission’s proposal contains only minor improvements with too many loopholes and misleading indicators. Pesticides are a major cause of biodiversity loss and a health risk for people, especially those working and living around farms. The EU must transition away from the current agricultural system that relies on harmful substances.
During the protest, the coalition movement displayed the messages of hundreds of citizens across the EU who sent in their demands for less pesticides and sustainable food systems together with a strand of their hair – the silent witness of their exposure to pesticides. In addition to powerful speeches from farmers, climate activists and civil society organisations, the protest also included a photo action, in which the slogan “EU pesticides are hair-raising” came to life.
Tobias Schied, farmer and climate activist said “We need an agroecological system, not a destructive industrial system. Pesticides, chemical fertilisers, gaz and oil are fossil. It is time to put people, animals and biodiversity over profits”.
Last week, Good Food Good Farming published a report with the results of the “Pesticide CheckUp”, a citizens-science action for which 300 people from across Europe sent in hair samples to get them tested for 30 different pesticides currently still authorised in the EU. Pesticide residues were found in the hair of nearly every third person tested (29%; 87 of the 300 participants).
“Now more than ever we have to make the citizens’ demands heard. We call for an immediate U-turn of the European policies to support food producers in their transition to more sustainable practices and to protect soils, waters, seeds, animals, and the food we eat”, says Marta Messa, Slow Food Secretary General.
Marilda Dhaskali, EU Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy Officer, BirdLife Europe added: “The widespread use of pesticides is not only one of the major threats to Europe’s ecosystems but is also harmful to human health. If we don’t want our children to live in a silent world, the EU must shift towards nature-friendly farming and meaningfully reduce the use of pesticides.”