Pesticides, Profit, Torture

Published in Poisons Beware

The look of abject terror on the monkey's face is a haunting picture, the stuff of nightmares for anyone with an ounce of empathy for torture victims, whether human or animal. Animals are frontline victims of dangerous chemicals.

Yet the warning pictograms which appear on chemical packaging do not include animals.

A marketing genius thought up the expression 'plant protection products' (PPPs), the bland euphemism camouflaging the realities of poisonous chemical pesticides. It provided cover for further marketing ploys, the oxymoron 'safe pesticides' and its related concept of 'sustainable use of pesticides'. 'Conventional farming' is another misleading term, an attempt to convince us that chemical-based agriculture has always been the norm. All of these blatant misrepresentations are designed to bamboozle the public and local, national and international authorities into supporting the agrochemical industry and its massive profits. Manipulation and corruption are rife.

In November 2019 Croatia's newly appointed Minister of Agriculture Marija Vučković came out against a ban on glyphosate (linked article in Croatian), the active constituent in the world's most widely used pesticides, including Roundup. On 2nd March 2020 in a written reply to a question posed under the Freedom of Information Act, the Ministry's official support was re-affirmed, stating that there was no 'relevant scientific proof' that glyphosate was harmful. This was surprising, as there is plenty of credible scientific evidence that glyphosate can be very dangerous to health and the environment.

The issue of 'scientific proof' is at the heart of the problem underlying pesticide use. In the European Union, as in the United States of America, approvals allowing pesticides to be marketed and used are based almost exclusively on unpublished 'scientific studies' sponsored by the Agrochemical industry. By contrast, independent studies published in peer-reviewed journals are ignored. In the case of glyphosate, this led to the contradiction between the conclusion by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, the World Health Organisation's cancer agency) that glyphosate was 'probably genotoxic and carcinogenic' and the opposite view promoted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The IARC relied on properly reviewed published studies, whereas EFSA and EPA took into account only industry-sponsored studies, which were generally unpublished and sometimes even secret. The approval process in the European Union has been strongly criticized as being deeply flawed.

The monkey sits in terror, clamped at the neck, submitting helplessly to a daily torture of sampling poison over weeks and months until the release of death arrives. The European Union applies the principles of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) as a means of ensuring that laboratory testing is done 'correctly'. The system is far from foolproof. A report published in 2020 has revealed that the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT) in Hamburg falsified GLP toxicity studies over a period of some 15 years, for instance by substituting living animals for those which died, and suppressing tumour findings. The Hamburg LPT was carrying out regulatory studies on behalf of the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, so one can conclude that the results were manipulated to suit industry interests. The LPT was responsible for a number of glyphosate studies, some of which were used when the substance was re-authorized by the European Union in 2017.

Chemical pesticides are potentially dangerous during production, distribution and application; the poisons can spread through the air, soil and water; they can be carried further on shoes and clothing; they can persist and accumulate in the environment; they are prevalent in the food we eat which is produced by 'conventional' methods. 'Safe' levels of dangerous substances are defined as amounts which do not pass a certain limit. That limit is the theoretical amount which might cause harm, especially to human health. The amount of any given pesticide allowed in foods is given as the 'maximum residual level' or MRL. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) listed 4612 authorized biocidal products and 854 biocidal active substances as at 7th March 2020. Their list is not exhaustive as it does not include fungicides and herbicides. 200 substances were identified as 'of very high concern' (ie extremely dangerous), and the ECHA openly admitted that the agrochemical industry was guilty of failing to provide adequate information and warnings about the risks to consumers. The Eco Hvar listing of chemical pesticides used in Croatia shows at a glance that the vast majority are potentially extremely damaging to human health, and a good many can be fatal.

Testing to establish so-called safety levels for single substances is totally irrelevant to the reality of pesticide use. In practice, in so-called conventional farming, multiple chemicals are usually applied over a single area. No-one can know what their combined effects might be on the environment, wildlife or human or animal health. Animal testing of pesticides as practised up to now is irrelevant as well as unethical and appallingly cruel. The ECHA states that alternatives to animal testing should be used, with animal testing as a last resort. That isn't happening. Thousands of animals of all kinds have been, and are being tortured and sacrificed in futile attempts to prove the impossible, that pesticides might be 'safe'. No chance.

You can read more details about the laboratory fraud on this link, but BE WARNED! the information is harrowing, especially if you are an animal lover. If you are an EU citizen of voting age you can take action against the pesticide industry and its nefarious practices by signing the European Citizens' Initiative 'Save Bees and Farmers', which is a campaign for a progressive reduction in pesticide use across the region, coupled with restoring biodiversity and providing support for farmers to help them transition from using pesticides to safer practices. If you want to make a difference on a practical level, choose to buy only organic produce. It is the most powerful message you can send to those controlling food production - as well as being best for your health.

© Vivian Grisogono, March 2020

You are here: Home poisons be aware Pesticides, Profit, Torture

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Exclusive: major supplier to brands including KFC and Nando’s used offshore companies allowing them to reduce UK tax payments, investigation suggests

    The global megacompanies supplying some of Britain’s most popular meat brands, including KFC, Nando’s chicken and Sainsbury’s organic range, appear to have been using offshore companies that allow them to avoid paying millions of pounds in tax in the UK.

    An investigation by the Guardian and Lighthouse Reports has found that two companies – Anglo Beef Processors UK and Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (owned by Brazilian beef giant JBS) – appear to have reduced their tax bill by structuring their companies and loans in a way that allows them to take advantage of different tax systems, in what one expert has described as “aggressive tax avoidance”.

    Continue reading...

  • Nature protection rules in proposed investment zones would in effect be suspended

    There was little room for doubt about the reaction to the prime minister’s plans to scrap environmental regulations this weekend. “Make no mistake, we are angry. This government has today launched an attack on nature,” tweeted the RSPB, its most forceful political intervention in recent memory.

    Liz Truss’s proposals to create investment zones, where green rules on nature protection would in effect be suspended, represented a step too far for some of Britain’s biggest environment charities. “As of today, from Cornwall to Cumbria, Norfolk to Nottingham, wildlife is facing one of the greatest threats it’s faced in decades,” the RSPB went on.

    Continue reading...

  • Prominent members of farmers’ union express dismay after comments by Minette Batters

    Farmers are threatening to quit the National Farmers’ Union after its leader said she supported the UK government’s apparent move to scrap post-Brexit nature subsidies.

    This weekend, the Observer revealed that the government was poised to abandon the “Brexit bonus”, which would have paid farmers and landowners to enhance nature, in what wildlife groups have described as an “all-out attack” on the environment.

    Continue reading...

  • Stars of film about 500-mile trek to Scotland for Cop26 hit the road again for Bristol premiere

    There will be no red carpet, no designer outfits and definitely no limousines. In fact, the stars of the film have shunned any sort of mechanical transport and instead walked 135 miles from London to Bristol for the premiere, and are asking their audience to accompany them by foot on their last leg before the screening.

    The film, which is being premiered on the harbourside in Bristol on Tuesday evening, is Of Walking on Thin Ice (Camino to Cop26), which tells the story of a group of climate pilgrims who hiked 500 miles from the south of England to Scotland for last year’s climate conference in Glasgow.

    For more details and tickets visit the Encounters film festival website.

    Continue reading...

  • Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire:It feels like sitting in a crypt – I am surrounded by the skeletons of dried perennials

    I try not to make excuses so I’m just going to tell the truth: everything in my garden is dead. The drought was fierce and I was sick, distracted. I couldn’t bear to look at it but I’m trying to look now.

    It feels like sitting in a crypt. I’ve pulled up a damp chair and I am surrounded by skeletons, the limbs of my perennials dried, bent and snapped. The hydrangea’s flowers have turned to ghostly brown lace too soon, drooping leaves turned almost black like prayer flags. There is copper, rust and blood; piles of viburnum leaves dropped early in fright. The penstemon looks as if it has been set alight then frozen, its orange flames still and hellish. When the rains finally came, too late, the parched snails came out of hiding and ate everything that was left. Talk about overkill.

    Continue reading...

  • Movement aims to make the mass damage and destruction of ecosystems a prosecutable, international crime against peace

    California winemaker Julia Jackson has long grasped the threats posed by the ongoing global climate change crisis, from more intense wildfires and hurricanes to rising sea levels. But for her, those ideas crossed over from the abstract to the tangible when her home was razed by the Kincade wildfire that devastated her native Sonoma county in 2019.

    “I lost everything – all my belongings,” Jackson said. “It shook me to my core.”

    Continue reading...

  • The deaths within days of 11 sturgeon, a species unchanged for thousands of years, have puzzled scientists

    When the first spindly, armour-clad carcass was spotted in the fast-flowing Nechako River in early September, Nikolaus Gantner and two colleagues scrambled out on a jet boat, braving strong currents to investigate the grim discovery.

    Days later, the remains of 10 others were spotted floating along a 100km stretch of the river in western Canada.

    Continue reading...

  • Defra accused of ‘all-out attack’ on environment by wildlife groups

    The government is to scrap the “Brexit bonus” which would have paid farmers and landowners to enhance nature, in what wildlife groups are calling an “all-out attack” on the environment, the Observer can reveal.

    Instead, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) sources disclosed, they are considering paying landowners a yearly set sum for each acre of land they own, which would be similar to the much-maligned EU basic payments scheme of the common agricultural policy.

    Continue reading...

  • Super Typhoon Noru tore its way out of the northern Philippines on Monday, leaving casualties, floods and power outages. Government work and classes at schools have been suspended in the capital and beyond

    Continue reading...

  • David Malpass apologises after saying he ‘doesn’t know’ if he accepts climate science

    David Malpass, president of the World Bank, faces an uncertain future this week, after the White House joined a chorus of influential figures in condemning his apparent climate denialism.

    Malpass remains in post for now but under severe pressure, despite issuing an apology and trying to explain his refusal last week to publicly acknowledge the human role in the climate crisis.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds