Posts Tagged ‘Syngenta’

Wildlife at risk crossing roads & NFU apologise after Buglife expose misleading claims

July 10, 2014

Tonight as I was driving home along a nice stretch of road, which might better be described as ‘track’ and which runs parallel with the busy A18.  I slowed as I approached a moving ‘stick’ which was obviously a larva of some description.  Given that the vegetation on both sides of the road is rank grasses with vetches, bird’s foot trefoil, a few stands of St John’s Wort and even a bit of ragwort, so maybe an eggar of some description, but I certainly didn’t expect the beauty below.  One side of the road is a substantive drainage ditch (currently being extracted to irrigate agricultural crops) the other side is another drainage ditch but this one, the North Engine Drain is a SSSI and part of the series which make up the Hatfield Chase Ditches SSSI and which are sympathetically managed for their wildlife interest.  This particular one (NED) had been ‘managed’ earlier in the year (the first time for a few years) in such a manner that would have delivered both drainage and wildlife benefits.

 

140710 Emperor larva hrk 300

 

Emperor Moth Saturnia pavonia is generally a speacies of moorland and heaths, it is present on both Thorne and Hatfield Moors.  But in the vicinity of Hatfield Chase drainage ditches?  This handsome beast made it across the road to safety and survived risk of predation by corvids or other hungry creature foraging to feed a family.  As noted by a writer for the Guardian perhaps the bigger risk might be posed by vehicles?  I have been unable to definitively establish if the larva is poisonous or if it is just unpalatable because of the spines and crusty ‘warts’ and uses the colouration and pattern to fool potential diners.  Do let us know if you are aware of a paper or such which provides an answer.

Various authors list food sources of the Emperor as being mostly woody plants including heather, but also bramble, meadowsweet, hawthorn, blackthorn, alder buckthorn, sallows and birches.  Some of these species are present in the area but it would need to be both very athletic and agile.  Waring & Townsend (2003) Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain & Ireland also include fens, field margins, woodland rides, mature sand dunes and other open scrubby places.  UK Moths website describe the ‘warts’ as being yellow but Manley (2008) British Moths and Butterflies A Photographic Guide show an example similar to today’s find, with pink ‘warts’.

 

CAMPAIGN UPDATE:

Readers might recall that we have featured the issue of bees and neonictinoids on this blog.  Well, here we are again ….

The NFU have recently made erroneous claim attributing losses in crop yields in Sweden to insects.  But give Guy Smith, their Vice-President his due, he was quick to apologise about the tweets and various news reports.  It should be noted that these were made after Buglife, the invertebrate champion for ‘the small things that run the planet’. 

This embarrassing incident comes not long after Syngenta had to back down with their threats to sue the UK for upholding the EU ban on the use of neonictioids.  David Cameron and Owen Paterson were in favour of dropping the ban, but the critical mass of community campaigning through epetitions and the like caused a rethink …. for now.  The NFU and other representatives of agri-industrial interests have supported the Syngenta campaign, and this is the second time that their claims have been found to be erroneous (no doubt to the embarrassment of both the BBC and Farmers Guardian who reported the NFU claims made by Smith) and as Matt Shardlow says this latest revelation comes on top of two recent reviews of scientific evidence that have failed to find improvements in crop yields as a result of neonicotinoid use and the failure at a recent House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee of a Bayer spokesman to name a single published, peer reviewed scientific paper showing that neonicotinoids improved crop yields.

Who can we, the public and tax payer trust when it comes to honest and robust science?  It’s not unreasonable to expect corporations to promote vested interests but surely to exhibit credibility it must be accurate and honest?  Similarly, Government should be open and transparent and above all beyond reproach, demonstrating exemplary integrity in their conduct?  They are after all funded through public taxation even if their political party is in receipt of funds from third parties?

 

 

Campaign updates & not so Scarce Footmen

July 8, 2014

CAMPAIGN UPDATES:

Syngenta’s attempt to undermine the EU pesticides ban has caused public uproar in the past few days. When the pesticide company applied to the Government for the go-ahead to use banned chemicals on UK crops, a number of organisations stepped in and called upon the public to help.  FOE and others report that ….

Thousands of us emailed the Bees Minister over the weekend and, as a result of this and the work of brilliant bee-loving allies such as Buglife, we think Syngenta and the Government have truly been feeling the pressure. [On 4 July] we found out that Syngenta have withdrawn their application.

This is fantastic news for our bees. It means the most bee-harming pesticides will not be used in the UK this year.

Syngenta say they’ll try again next year – but we’ll be ready for them.

 

Should LEGO advertise for Shell, a multinational seeking to exploit the Arctic?

There is currently a Greenpeace campaign to persuade Shell to reconsider its plans for exploitation of the Arctic for oil.  They have also raised the issue of advertising through ‘Lego’ toys, so are asking people to sign a petition to Lego to persuade them to reconsider helping Shell present itself as a family friendly and caring company.

 

‘MOOR’ GROUSING ….

Another ‘plug’ to those who might still be undecided and considering whether or not to sign Dr Mark Avery‘s epetition Ban driven grouse shooting.  Currently standing at 7.018 – can we get it to the 10,000 by the ‘inglorious’ 12th August?  Updates and background information can be found on his excellent blog Standing up for Nature.   

 

I’ve recently been reading Tony Juniper‘s What has nature ever done for us?   I think I’d suggest that it needs to be compulsory reading for all 1450 residents of the Westminster village.  Perhaps Kirsty Young should make it a compulsory companion when she interviews politicians and similar professions on R4’s Desert Island Discs?

 

NATURE NOTES:

The changeable weather recently has curtailed a little, my endeavours to boost my ‘backyard’ moth list …. but a recent addition to the list is shown below alongside its more common cousin.

Easy when they're side by side.  Eilema complana (top) and E. lurideola (bottom).

Easy when they’re side by side. Eilema complana (top) and E. lurideola (bottom).

The Scarce Footman has, in my view a completely different ‘jizz’ to that of the more frequently encountered Common Footman.  It was a pleasant find, there were two amidst more plentiful cousins and whilst not as ‘rare’ as it’s name suggests it is not a particularly common species yet …. although, according to Harry Beaumont (YNU Lepidoptera Recorder for ‘Micros’) Scarce Footman has turned up frequently during the past few years, with the records slowly making it onto the Yorkshire Moths website.  After VC61, VC63 holds the second largest number of unique sites and individuals.

 

‘Moor’ B updates ….

July 2, 2014

BEES

Bees seem to keep hitting the headlines a lot recently, at the moment because there is a worry that David Cameron and Owen Paterson will overturn the EU ban on the use of neonictinoids.  The challenge has been led by Syngenta and a number of epetitions have been launched to send a message to politicians about the serious concerns posed by these toxic chemicals.

This morning hundreds of 38 Degrees members joined a host of campaign organisations to swarm on Downing Street to protect our bees.  David Cameron was meeting his cabinet to decide whether to allow banned bee killing pesticides to be used on fields across the UK.  Alongside 38 Degrees a huge range of campaign organisations came along, Buglife, Client Earth, Environmental Justice Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Natural Beekeeping Trust, Pesticide Action Network and the Soil Association all joined the campaign. Even Barry Gardiner MP (The Shadow Environment minister) join the ‘swarm’.  This is people power, this is critical mass collaborating to conserve and protect things people rather than corporations care about.

BADGERS

Of our beloved and beleaguered brock, with ‘apologies’ for the ’emotive’ langauge …. Miles King through his excellent blog “a new nature blog” has alerted us if we were not already aware that Farmers flout TB rules and campaign against loopholes which let TB spread

after he had analysed the recent (June 2014) Defra Bovine TB Information Note 02/14   Sadly, King draws a conclusion that the Tenant Farmers Association, chairman Stephen Wyrill considers trade to be more important than disease control, when it comes to tackling the disease in cattle.  Wyrill agreed that badgers should continue to be killed but that measures must respect the need to continue trading.

In a report by the Guardian today, new research published in the prestigious scientific journals Nature reports on National-scale research which heavily contradicts government’s badger policy and says that emphasis on cattle is only way to curb the bTB epidemic and that a mass cull of cattle not badgers is the only way to proceed.  The study was immediately rejected by farming minister George Eustice, who said a mass cull of cattle would kill the industry.  Surely, collectively we need solutions based on science not political point scoring, procrastination is costing lives of both badgers and cattle.

Tim M Badger 7465227996_e7b29e0ea9_h

 

Brook-Pollock, Roberts and Keeling present a dynamic stochastic spatial model for bovine TB in Great Britain.  The online paper provides an excellent selection of references and they are provided with their context.  The research concludes that “Very few of the control options tested have the potential to reverse the observed annual increase, with only intensive strategies such as whole-herd culling or additional national testing proving highly effective, whereas controls focused on a single transmission route are unlikely to be highly effective”.   As this research does not provide support for the continued cull, will the farming industry commission its own (if it has not already), will the Minister ‘carry on regardless’?

Both these ‘B’ issues bring to the fore the question of political impartiality and representativeness of the public who elected them (be it proactively or otherwise) and to who they are accountable?  However, when one examines how political parties are funded then the mire gets very mirky indeed?  Multinational corporations employ powerful and effective marketing companies who naturally advocate for vested interest and Westminster has some 1450 incumbents, some elected others not so accountable but all open to ‘discussion’ and why would they not be?  When ‘reason’ fails then there’s always the courts?

 

 


BIRDING SITE GUIDE - Birding Site Guide

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Hatfield Moors Birding Blog

Bird and other wildlife information service for Hatfield Moors, South Yorkshire, UK © HMBSG 17/11/2010

Mark Avery

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

a new nature blog

I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.

UK and Ireland Natural History Bloggers

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?