An anniversary – bee mad, not glad 😡

I like to celebrate anniversaries, but this anniversary is nothing to celebrate.

Exactly one year ago today, Friends of the Earth and three other environmental organizations, represented by Ecojustice lawyers, headed to court in a bid to protect pollinators from two bee-toxic pesticides.

Our lawsuit argues that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) failed to live up to its legal responsibilities as a regulator, and continues to unlawfully register a number of pesticides containing Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam for use and sale in Canada.

But, here we are, one year later still fighting off the federal government’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit.  The government and several multinational pesticide companies are attempting to persuade the court to dismiss the case before it is heard.

The federal Pest Control Products Act requires the PMRA to have “reasonable certainty” that a pesticide will cause no harm to the environment before registering it for use and sale in Canada.  More than a decade ago the PMRA granted “conditional” registrations for two neonicotinoid pesticides, putting off for a later day its review of scientific information on the pesticides’ risks to pollinators. Years later the PMRA is still waiting for studies sufficient to justify “full” registration of the pesticides.

 

Meanwhile new scientific research findings are compelling.  Just last week, the world’s largest study, published in the journal, Science, showed widespread evidence of population decline and shortened lifespans in domesticated and wild bees populations exposed to neonics. A separate study conducted in Canada discovered that prolonged exposure to neonicotinoids affects honey-bee health in corn-growing regions.

Pesticides top the list of concerns for Canadians when it comes to serious threats to bees. Last week, we reported on the national poll conducted on behalf of Friends of the Earth Canada in May by Oracle Poll Research – it showed most Canadians (89%) believed “pesticides” are the most important threat to bees. Almost eight out of ten believe the loss of suitable floral resources was important (79%).  More than six out of ten also cited other threats as important – habitat loss 68%, disease 67%, climate change 66%, and modern intensive agriculture 65%.

So, what will it take to move our federal government to act to protect pollinators?  The bees continue to suffer while we work our way through court proceedings.  Yes, this is definitely an anniversary to note – not to celebrate – but to deepen our resolve that neonics must go.

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