North Carolina tells Bayer: Buzz Off for bees
More than 500,000 Americans call on Bayer to stop selling bee-killing pesticides
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Farmers, beekeepers, environmentalists, students, bee-lovers and members of the North Carolina community rallied in front of the North Carolina Capitol building today and delivered more than 500,000 petition signatures urging Bayer (DE: BAYN) to stop selling bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides. Bayer is one of the leading manufacturers of neonicotinoids — a key driver of bee decline. Bayer was invited to the rally and petition delivery by environmental and consumer organizations on behalf of the 500,000 people that signed petitions to Bayer, but the company has not responded to the invitation.
“Bayer masquerades as a champion of bee health while doing absolutely everything in its power to protect its pesticide profits and keep its harmful products on the market,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “If Bayer is serious about bee health, it must listen to the more than 500,000 Americans calling on it to stop selling bee-toxic pesticides, for the sake of our environment, food system and nation’s food supply.”
“North Carolina’s $78 billion agricultural industry is too important to risk long-term environmental health for near-sighted financial gains,” said Preston Peck, policy advocate, at Toxic Free North Carolina. As the state with the largest Beekeeping Association in the Nation, North Carolinians obviously have a passion for pollinators and must work together to protect their habitat from many factors, including systemic pesticides like those produced by Bayer CropScience.
“I have witnessed the majority of crops that can be grown in NC grown organically. The question I have is why do we need these pesticides at all?” said Tony Kleese of Earthwise Organics, LLC.
“As a student at a renowned research institution, I’m appalled by Bayer’s willful disregard of the research linking neonicotinoid pesticides to global bee-declines and the impacts this will have on our food supply and environment,” said Gaby Benitez, president of Food for Thought, Duke University. “I urge Bayer to take steps towards a greener future for future generations.”
“It’s time for Bayer to get with the program and protect our precious pollinators. These half a million people include Bayer’s customers, shareholders and investors — they will be watching closely to hold Bayer accountable on this issue,” said Emma Pullman, lead campaign strategist, at SumOfUs.
“North Carolina is in a unique position to lead the way against neonicotinoids because of our huge agricultural industry and being the home of the world’s largest producer of these systemic pesticides, Bayer CropScience. I have been working on legislation that will limit the use of these insecticides because of the uncertain environmental impact that could burden generations to come,” said Representative Pricey Harrison.
In April 2014, Friends of the Earth released a report, “Follow the Honey: 7 ways pesticide companies are spinning the bee crisis to protect profits,” which documents the deceptive tactics used by agrochemical companies including Germany-based Bayer, Switzerland-based Syngenta (NYSE: SYT) and U.S.-based Monsanto (NYSE: MON), to deflect blame from their products’ contributions to bee declines and delay regulatory action on neonicotinoid pesticides.
Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the EPA’s approval of the neonicotinoid insecticide “sufloxaflor.” The court concluded that the EPA violated federal law when it approved sulfoxaflor without reliable studies regarding the impact that the insecticide would have on honeybee colonies and ruled that sulfoxaflor may not be used in the U.S.
The 500,000 petition signatures were gathered by Friends of the Earth, League of Conservation Voters, MoveOn, Organic Consumers Association, Save our Environment, Sierra Rise, SumOfUs, and Toxic Free North Carolina.
Tiffany Finck-Haynes, Friends of the Earth, (802) 258-0696, [email protected]
Preston Peck, Toxic Free NC, (919) 833-1123, [email protected]
Emma Pullman, SumOfUs.org, (778) 887-6776, [email protected]
Communications contact: Kate Colwell, Friends of the Earth, (202) 222-0744, [email protected]