Monday, January 12, 2009

BBKA: Assessing the Damage

At their Annual Delegates Meeting on January 10th 2009, the British Bee Keepers Association executive learned just how divisive their pesticide endorsement policy really is: they got their way, but with only a 60/40 majority - hardly a resounding success. Despite their arrogant censorship, both on their web site and in their newsletter, and full-bore propaganda from the current president and others, they have won a Pyrrhic victory: they are left with the knowledge that nearly half of their branches contain a majority of members who disagree with their flagship policy.

Of course, they may yet appreciate the damage they have done and recant, but I won't be holding my breath.

So where does this leave British beekeepers who do not wish to be represented by an association whose governing clique seem to care more about their own agenda than either the welfare of bees or the views of their members? Disappointed, disheartened and disenfranchised.

We all have to go with our consciences on this issue. For myself, I cannot belong to any organization that wishes to associate itself with the likes of Bayer or Syngenta - companies that spend millions on lies and propaganda to persuade people that their toxic rubbish is somehow 'good for you' - and in the case of Bayer, frequently caught out and prosecuted for killing and maiming its victims. If the BBKA want to be mentioned in the same sentence as that form of pond slime, then they too become tainted, as far as I am concerned.

I will not be renewing my membership of BBKA, as I believe they have shown themselves to be unworthy to represent British beekeeping. Their refusal to support the German beekeepers after the disastrous Bayer poisoning incident last May; their inability to admit that ANY pesticides may be a problem for bees; their arrogant censorship of comments from their website and refusal of any exec member to join in discussion of the subject on their forum; the utter lack of any response from president Tim Lovett to questions and comments from many people; enough is enough. Until I see serious reforms I will have nothing to do with them.

Bees are under threat - we all know that - and if we use our common sense to look at what has changed in the world between 1850 and today that could be contributing to their decline, two principal factors are clear: big changes in the way bees are 'managed', and the more recent but pervasive spread of chemical agriculture.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is a key indicator of madness. It's time to take off the blinkers and re-think the way we do things.

See also:

Yorkshire Post

Pesticides in beehives

GM Crops Implicated in CCD

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