The background to the news, according to the New York Times
, is that the German chemical company Bayer is one of the major producers of a type of pesticide that the European Union has linked to the large-scale die-offs of honey bee populations in North America and Western Europe. They are known as neonicotinoids
, a relatively new nicotine-derived class of pesticide. The pesticide was banned this year for use on many flowering crops in Europe that attract honey bees. Bayer does not agree with the decision and is planning to sue the European Union in order to have the decision reversed.
Bayer’s counter action is not supported by environmental groups. At Bayer’s Annual Stockholders Meeting
in Cologne on April 29th, activists from SumOfUs.org, along with Greenpeace, critical shareholders and European beekeepers joined Bayer shareholders in demanding the corporation immediately drop its lawsuit against the European Commission over bee-killing neonic pesticides, and develop new non-toxic alternatives to pest prevention.
At the stockholder’s meeting, SumOfUs.org
campaigner Anne Isakowitsch handed over a petition to shareholders urging the company to stop producing bee-killing pesticides. More than 633,340 people signed a petition from SumofUs.org, urging Bayer to drop its lawsuit against the European Commission over a landmark ban on bee-killing pesticides.
Anne Isakowitsch, Campaigner for SumOfUs.org told the Digital Journal: “Bayer should ask itself, just how many millions of shareholder dollars are going into lobbying of politicians and regulators to overturn a sensible ban on deathly pesticides? Instead of wasting shareholder funds on a needless lawsuit, Bayer should recognise the problems and start developing alternative products to replace neonics -- Bayer should turn to its long history of finding solutions to difficult problems and use innovation instead of litigation.”