Audio: Greenpeace, UK farmers and chemical industry square off over neonicotinoid pesticide ban

| November 14, 2018
seed neonic x
Seeds treated with neonicotinoid insecticide.
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The debate over neonicotinoids continued … during a BBC Radio segment as farmers, environmentalists and the chemical industry weighed in on Europe’s controversial ban of the pesticides.

Some European governments have allowed farmers emergency exemptions to use neonics because they claim there are no viable alternatives. But the UK fears the seed treatments pose a serious threat to birds and bees and has refused to grant exemptions, a decision it reaffirmed on November 12. UK National Farmers Union deputy president Guy Smith told the BBC he uses the pesticides to protect his crops from pests, not because he likes chemicals.

Greenpeace activist Franziska Achterberg countered that some governments have not claimed there is an emergency and are refusing to enforce the EU ban because they oppose it. The chemical giant Bayer manufactures neonics, and its representative Julian Little argued that these European governments recognize the ban will harm farmers and are employing a “reasonable approach” until alternatives can be identified.

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[Editor’s note: Move cursor to the 1:25:15 mark on the audio player at this link and click on it to listen to the story.]

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