|Open Letter to the BBKA||
BBKA Endorsement of Pesticides
The BBKA notes that there has been some renewed criticism of the BBKA policy of engaging with Agro - Chemical companies following a recent incident in Germany associated with a product marketed by Bayer.
The BBKA does not endorse the particular product in question, but does endorse other products marketed by the same company.
The policy of the BBKA established some years ago and endorsed by its membership at an Annual Delegates Meeting, is one of constructive engagement with such companies to ensure that the products are sold with the correct instructions to farmers in relation to when and how to spray to ensure that honey bees are not affected.
In arriving at this policy the BBKA acknowledges that not all its membership agree with the policy, but equally the clear majority do. We accept that some of our members are for example committed to a purely organic way of farming and do not agree with the use of any pesticides or genetically modified products. The BBKA takes the view that they must represent all of their membership in the best way it can for benefit of beekeeping as a whole and to do this we recognise that we exist in a world where chemicals are used.
Members of the BBKA technical committee met the relevant companies periodically to ensure that we are aware of products coming onto the market, and discuss their possible effect on honey bees. We review the products we already endorse in the light of any new evidence that may become available and ensure that the instructions to farmers remain pertinent. We also provide the companies with advice about the habits of honey bees to assist in their formulation of new products.
With the recent well documented problems affecting honey bees throughout the World and in the UK, the BBKA is committed to raising the awareness of the plight of the honey bee, and is doing its upmost to persuade all interested parties including in particular the UK Government that urgent research is needed into the reasons for the decline of the species. In particular the BBKA is keen that research is undertaken to establish if new treatments can be developed into controlling the varroa mite as this remains the number one reason for the reduction in honey bee numbers in the UK at the current time.
Is this a company that you would want to be associated with?
What happened next?The BBKA finally published a statement about the pesticide poisoning incident in Germany. Does it support our German colleagues? Does it challenge Bayer to produce accurate data for its products? Or is it another impotent, non-event, quite possibly written by Bayer's PR company? You be the judge.
The middle column here is a replica of a page that appeared on the BBKA site in May 2008, in response to considerable pressure from members, who wanted BBKA to make a statement about their hitherto secretive relationship with certain agri-chemical companies, following a massive killing of bees in Germany by Bayer's seed dressing, clothianidin.
Initially, they asked for members' feedback, but after they had received a straight run of 20 comments, NONE of which supported their position, they closed down the feedback facility and removed all trace of the comments. Luckily, they were preserved for posterity and now appear below.