Sunday, May 12, 2013

Ontario Bee Association - Position Statement on Neonicitoids

The message below is copied from the OBA newsletter.  It can be viewed at: 

The OBA's new position statement and press release on neonics

Some of you will remember that in our first newsletter, the OBA's position on neonics called for replacement of the pesticides and the use of agricultural Best Management Practices while a replacement is being found. So, you may be surprised to see that our latest position statement and recent press release is stronger, calling for the suspension of all neonicotinoid pesticides starting with the 2014 planting season.

Why the change? Well first of all, our original position was developed before the PMRA report was released confirming our suspicions that neonics were the cause of the bee deaths in Spring 2012, as well as the weakened hives resulting from sub-lethal doses of this pesticide. In addition, scientific evidence has been increasing about the longer-term and broader implications of this class of pesticides including the impact on soil and the water table. And finally, the growing public recognition that a world without bees would result in a world without the crops and wild flowers they pollinate, along with the loss of the birds, amphibians and small mammals that feed upon the seeds and other parts of those wild flowers, and of course the  predators that rely on the small birds and mammals to keep them alive. We believe that it is not just our role to take a strong stance on this issue, but our duty. 
Does this mean we are no longer working with our agricultural partners on mitigation strategies? Of course not. We continue to be committed to our farm partners and to support efforts in Integrated Pest Management and Best Management Practices. It is also important to remember that our agricultural relationships go beyond this issue; we value our joint marketing initiatives  such as Foodland Ontario and Sustainable Ontario and recognize our interdependence related to pollination services for fruits and vegetables. Will all farmers agree with our position? Probably not, but we are sure they will respect our responsibility to our industry. And in the end, we all want the same thing, a healthy and vibrant agricultural community and a safe and sustainable environment. We look forward to finding new ways to work together toward that end.

NOTE: Media reports of new bee kills in Ontario, being investigated by PMRA this morning, arrived just as the newsletter was being mailed. Please see below for latest news. 

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