Monday, January 10, 2011

10 Questions for the Executive of the British Bee Keepers Association

These are the key questions that need answering if the BBKA wishes to be seen as fairly representing the interests of British bees and bee keepers:

(1) When the BBKA Executive made the decision to endorse the initial four insecticides, what due diligence procedures did it employ that led to the conclusion that these insecticides were 'bee-friendly'? Did the manufacturers provide peer-reviewed, independent research to back up their claims?

(2) Was the Executive aware, for example, of the research (i) published in 1995 - 6+ years before the decision - that demonstrated deltamethrin (one of the endorsed pesticides) to be deadly to bees, even in extremely small doses? And the research (ii) published 1993 that clearly states 'Cypermethrin is highly toxic to bees'?

(3) If the Executive was aware of this research, what led it to ignore or override its findings?

(4) If the Executive was not aware of this research, does it still consider that it undertook due diligence before endorsing these pesticides?

(5) Did the Executive, during the subsequent years of endorsement, keep a review on published research about the endorsed pesticides?

(6) And is the Executive familiar with the research (iii) published in 2005 that shows both cypermethrin and deltamethrin to be 'highly toxic to honeybees'? If not, please review your answer to Q5.

(7) It is clear from Dr Bernie Doeser's review of the science (sent to BBKA November 2 2010) that the very pesticides the BBKA endorsed are very far from being 'bee-friendly'; in fact three of them are among the five most toxic pesticides in their class.(iv)

In the light of this review, do you still think you made the right decisions? And will you be taking up Dr Doeser's generous offer of expert help and advice in such matters?

(8) In the light of the above, the BBKA executives who were responsible for the endorsement policy appear to have been either:

(a) negligent in their assessment of published research, or

(b) reckless in their endorsement of products known to be toxic to bees.

Which do you consider to have been the case?

(9) Why did the BBKA Executive fail to support their colleagues in Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Belgium in a call for the systemic, neurotoxic, neonicotinoid insecticides Imidacloprid, Thiamethoxam and Clothianidin to be removed from the European list of permitted agricultural chemicals? (v)

(10) What measures do you propose to put in place to ensure that:

(a) BBKA takes a firm stance against the introduction into our environment of unnecessary toxic chemicals, especially the widely-condemned neonicotinoids? (vi)(vii)

(b) BBKA members are not again embarrassed by having to apologize to the rest of the world for being represented by a body that endorses bee-killing chemicals?

(c) Members of the BBKA Executive, whether elected or co-opted, make a full, public declaration of any financial, academic or research interests that they hold in partnership with pesticide companies, the agricultural, pharmaceutical and food industries, - or any other industry that could be deemed a conflict of interest.

(d) BBKA supports the organic/pesticide-free farming movement, including the Soil Association, the Wholesome Food Association, Garden Organic and the Biodynamic Agricultural Association, in their encouragement to farmers to use non-chemical growing methods?