One third of the Western diet relies on pollination to grow food crops and 80% of this pollination is undertaken by the honey bee. In the UK about 70 crops are dependent on, or benefit from, visits from bees. In addition, bees pollinate the flowers of many plants which become part of the feed of farm animals.
Bees are in danger of disappearing from our environment. Farming practices continue to disturb the natural habitats and forage of solitary and bumblebees at a rate which gives them little chance for re-establishment. Tim Lovett, Public Affairs director of the British Beekeepers Association, says "Just think about your breakfast; if there were no bees, there would be no orange juice on your table, there would be no jam, no honey. I've been to China, to Szechuan, where the bee population was wiped out, and you see men on ladders there using paintbrushes to pollinate the fruit trees. Can you imagine the cost of our food if we had to do that all ourselves? You'd only be able to afford half an olive on a pizza, and the mozzarella – which comes from cows raised on [bee-pollinated] alfalfa – would be absolutely prohibitive." Essentially, if honeybees disappear, they could take most of our insect pollinated plants with them, potentially reducing mankind to a diet of next to nothing.
The EU was recently given recommendations from the European Food Safety Authority that controversial nerve-agent pesticides called neonicotinoids, should not be used on crops visited by bees. European commissioner for health and consumer policy Tonio Borg said it was time for ‘swift and decisive action’ to protect Europe’s bee populations, adding that he was initiating a ‘set of ambitious, but proportionate legislative measures.’ BUT In Britain , the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, has already indicated that the Government is likely to ignore the recommendation and is opposed to an immediate ban on the three neonicotinoids highlighted by the EFSA report, which included more than 30 scientific papers implicating the chemicals in damage to bees and bee colonies and categorically stated that they “pose a number of risks to bee health”. How many more scientific papers does the British government need?? And is the British public going to sit back and allow Owen Paterson to decide not to comply with an EU ruling which essentially protects not only their own food crops but also those of their children, grandchildren and other future descendants?? Please stand up for bees now! This is your future!
Dear Mr. Paterson,
as a member of the public which the government is supposed to represent, I kindly ask you not to ignore the EFSA recommendations on not using neonicotinoid pesticides, found to be harmful to bees, on flowering food crops. These recommendations were put forward after a report by EFSA which included over 30 scientific papers highlighting the dangers to bees of these pesticides. I also request that you support the proposed EU ban on using neonicotinoids for flowering food crops, which will be voted on at the end of this month. I ask this not only for myself and my children, but for all future generations which will be affected by the disappearance of bees, and along with them, our food crops!