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borderbeeman 

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...de-endorsement

British Beekeepers' Association to stop endorsing bee-killing pesticides

Beekepers' group ends commercial relationship with pesticide manufacturer whose product killed bees

Alison Benjamin, The Guardian. Tuesday 16 November 2010 18.23 GMT
The BBKA is to end its commercial relationship with a pesticide manufacturer whose products killed bees.

The British Beekeepers' Association has today announced plans to end its controversial practice of endorsing pesticides in return for cash from leading chemical manufacturers.

The endorsement of four products as "bee-friendly" in return for £17,500 a year caused outrage among many beekeepers because one of the companies, Bayer Crop Science, makes pesticides that are widely implicated in the deaths of honeybees worldwide.

But the BBKA denies that it has bowed to pressure from members who have been increasingly critical of the its stance. Bayer's clothianidin was identified as causing the death of two-thirds of honeybees in southern Germany in 2008.

In a statement sent outtoday to the secretaries of local beekeeping associations across the UK, the BBKA's president, Martin Smith, said:
"Following discussion with the companies involved, the BBKA trustees have decided that endorsement and related product-specific payments will cease as soon as practically possible."​

He added: "The four products subject to BBKA endorsement are of declining commercial importance and the development of new classes of pesticides and application techniques means that the relationship with the plant-protection industry should be reviewed."

Beekeeper Graham White, who resigned from the BBKA more than two years ago in protest at what he called a "secret deal done with the pesticide manufacturers whose products are lethal to bees", welcomed today's decision.

"It's great news, but it's too little, too late," he said. "They should have been showing solidarity with beekeepers in France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia when pesticides were banned there after being implicated in bee deaths, instead of selling their logo to the manufacturers."

Smith defended its position then as one of "constructive engagement" to ensure pesticides were properly applied as per the instructions on the label to minimise damage to honeybees.

The BBKA's position has polarised the 45,000-strong beekeeping community, but the majority of BBKA members upheld its policy at its annual delegate meeting earlier this year and in 2009.

At the next meeting in January, delegates will be asked to note today's decision "with respect to the cessation of BBKA endorsement of certain pesticides".

But the organisation has not ruled out accepting funds in the future from pesticide companies. "The trustees may wish to invite companies to exhibit at the BBKA's spring convention or make a contribution to the BBKA research fund," said Smith.

"It is time to broaden the range of engagement with the crop-protection industry beyond the narrow focus of endorsing certain products; rather to contribute more directly to the development of new regulatory criteria for pesticide approval and to further support the industry in the general move to improve countryside stewardship," he added.

White says all ties to the pesticide industry should be immediately severed.

"All of those who created and directed this policy of pesticide endorsement must be thrown out of the BBKA and replaced by real beekeepers. The BBKA is not fit for purpose and will never recover its moral integrity until it is reconstituted as a pure beekeeping organisation that is willing to campaign against all use of systemic pesticides on British farms."​
 

Heather 

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But the BBKA denies that it has bowed to pressure from members who have been increasingly critical of the its stance.

B*****ks - they were stunned by the response from members!!
 

Hebeegeebee 

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Is this democracy in action at the BBKA then?

(Some would say about time too).
 

Chris B 

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I don't think BBKA has said anything about pressure from members, to confirm or deny it is the motivation behind this. Certainly not in the press release anyway.
But I don't understand it. If designed to appease members why not say "we've listened to beekeepers concerns", true or not?
 

Recyclotron 

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Some Background to the Debate

As a fairly new beekeeper I was shocked when I read the Twickenham proposal - I could not believe that the BBKA would support the use of insecticides, so I started to find out more. The information I got hold of was shocking and substantial, so I compiled it into a report which you can download at http://tinyurl.com/bbkapesticides . I then sent this report to Twickenham and Thames Valley BKA and to a member of the BBKA executive. The executive took it very seriously and I have discussed it with two of them. I suspect that the report played some part in the change of policy.

If you feel strongly about this issue please read the report, and feel free to circulate it to anyone who you think might be interested.

Bernie Doeser (West Cornwall Beekeepers)
 

Heather 

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I don't think BBKA has said anything about pressure from members, to confirm or deny it is the motivation behind this. Certainly not in the press release anyway.
But I don't understand it. If designed to appease members why not say "we've listened to beekeepers concerns", true or not?
Oh come on- it would look like a climb down- far too arrogant to admit that- BBKA are saying that the type of Nicotinoid product has come to the end of its course so no need to continue with BBKA backing...They are sliding out of the situation...
 

Hivemaker. 

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They are sliding out of the situation...

And very deceptively into another...lol.:ack2:
 

katecanning 

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T&TVBKA reply to The BBKA Strategic Review 2010

Part 1:

BBKA Strategic Review 2011 and its relationship with the plant protection industry

NOTES:
• It should be noted that the BBKA has shifted it’s position at least twice this year with regard to continuing endorsement of the 4 currently contracted pesticide endorsements:
• After the 2010 ADM, Martin Smith announced that the 4 pesticide endorsements would not be renewed when their contract ‘terms’ expired.
• In Summer 2010, when talking to T&TVBKA about the BBKA’s involvement with the 4 pesticide endorsements, Martin Smith said categorically, when asked, that the BBKA would be carrying on with the endorsements for the foreseeable future.
• Therefore one cannot be sure that the BBKA will not again do a U-turn on this policy. Please refer to paragraph 5 and the penultimate paragraph of the Strategic Review in relation to this.
• Perhaps the whole BBKA membership could be involved in this debate rather than just the delegates, to better assess the ethical objections of members, the concerns over the way this policy was adopted without member endorsement and the lack of effective oversight over the four companies concerned. This issue has highlighted a number of constitutional shortcomings and we would welcome the setting up of a “constitutional review” to clarify what the authority of the executive is, and how it can be more accountable to its members.


As an educational charity, the BBKA is primarily concerned with the health and welfare of honey bees and seeks to educate, inform and influence all parts of society including beekeepers, the public and industry about honey bees.

If it was true that the BBKA were primarily concerned with the health and welfare of honey bees, the BBKA would not now be issuing statements claiming to distance themselves from relationships with certain manufacturers & their products which are deadly to bees. It is therefore puzzling why the BBKA endorses products which are intentionally lethal to insects, bearing in mind that bees are insects.

Over time, a number of arrangements have been made between the BBKA and third parties, who have been attracted to entering into relationships with the BBKA for a variety of reasons, but all of which have been agreed on the basis they will deliver benefits to honey bees.

What benefits to bees do insecticides/pesticides bring? What evidence does the BBKA have that the endorsement arrangement benefitted honeybees?

It is necessary to review strategically the appropriateness of these relationships from time to time to ensure that they continue to be relevant, effective and indeed do deliver the intended benefits.

Again – what benefits would these be?

Usually such arrangements have meant the granting or licensing of the use of the BBKA logo (which is a registered trade mark) on the literature and goods of the third party. The BBKA strategic review intends to assess the options and opportunities available to it to develop its brand name and to develop others.

The BBKA logo was only present on one of the products, and as the report showed the arrangement had a negligible impact upon insecticide usage instructions.


One such strategic relationship has been the BBKA policy of actively engaging with the plant protection industry in an attempt to improve stewardship of pesticides and agricultural practice to minimise damage to honey bees and to ensure that the views of beekeepers are taken into account in the development of pesticides and their application in the field.

Which following Dr Bernie Doeser’s report and his discovery among other errors,
of the Biscaya information referencing the BBKA without permission, can be shown that the BBKA oversight was inadequate and failed to ”improve stewardship of pesticides and agricultural practice….etc”.

This relationship started in the 1980's and has taken a number of forms, including
sponsorship of the BBKA’s presence at the Royal Show and more recently, the BBKA has agreed to allow its logo to be used on four synthetic pyrethroid based products. These products on the basis of evidence provided and in conjunction with the stewardship activities of the supplying companies, appear to offer reduced risks for harm to honey bees when used correctly. The BBKA has received modest payments for these endorsements part of which covers the costs of administration and meetings held to engage with the companies. Positive developments that have come from this policy have included the inclusion of the BBKA 10 point guidelines into the UK Pesticide Guide, the so-called ‘Green Book’, published by BCPC and most importantly, significant reductions in bee
colony losses attributed to pesticides, from the 100 or so per annum in the 1990s to the current negligible figures.


Please refer to Dr Doeser’s report which demonstrates that such claims cannot be made whilst the understanding of pesticide damage by beekeepers remains low and the means for reporting such damage virtually unknown. Even with such limited knowledge of the problem present poisoning incidents investigated by the WIIC are running at approximately 10 per year. One would have hoped that the basic instructions for protecting bees would have been required by the BBKA to be printed by the manufacturers on the instructions for the four endorsed products. Sadly they were not. No evidence has ever been offered for the harm reduction claim and the products endorsed are amongst the most toxic synthetic pyrethroids to the honeybee.

The four products currently subject to BBKA endorsement are today of declining
commercial importance and the development of new classes of pesticide and application techniques means that the relationship with the plant protection industry should be reviewed.

According to FERA the four products endorsed are currently sprayed on over 3 million hectares. The lack of any recognition of members ethical concerns is disappointing. Should the BBKA seek to endorse pesticides in future this debate will be re-ignited as grass roots opposition has not been based on specific pesticides, but the endorsement of pesticides in general. Many members fear that the BBKA executive would like to endorse Biscaya and other neo-nicotinoids in future.

The way in which the BBKA will engage with the industry as a whole and individual companies will vary, but an example of the wider approach to be pursued is the co-operation over the production of the recently published Crop Protection Association (CPA) leaflet ‘Bee Safe, Bee Careful’ which bears the BBKA and NFU logos.

The BBKA may appear to be withdrawing from the existing relationship with the 4 pesticide contracts but seem to be entertaining a new relationship with the agri-chem’s umbrella organization, The Crop Protection Association (a more sanitized ‘plant friendly’ name). The BBKA reserves the right to again receive a financial reward for this. So in effect the BBKA have not unequivocally withdrawn from pesticide endorsement but aims to continue it’s endorsement relationship under a new guise. Please refer to NOTES: the opening 4 bullet points above. It is not clear what “engagement with the industry” will mean in practice. The BBKA trustees do not seem to recognize the reputational damage that is associated with accepting funds from insecticide producers.

End of aprt 1 - see part 2 in next reply
 

katecanning 

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Part 2...continuedL
As a first step in the overall review of strategic relationships the BBKA Trustees have decided that it is time to broaden the range of engagement with the crop protection industry beyond the narrow focus of endorsing certain products; rather to contribute more directly to the development of new regulatory criteria for pesticide approval with the Chemicals Regulatory Directorate (CRD) and to further support the industry in the general move to improve countryside stewardship. For example, this might include promoting specific initiative such as nectar bars, tree planting and restoration of hedgerows.

Following discussion with the companies involved, the BBKA Trustees have decided that endorsement and related product specific payments will cease as soon as practically possible.

When are the termination dates for each of the 4 contracts? When is the BBKA cut-off date from pesticide endorsement planned? This is a critical factor.
• Is there a break clause or a performance clause in these contracts to terminate them early? eg: on the evidence of poor quality of advice to sprayers issued on the instructions and the abuse of the BBKA’s name in reference to the Biscaya information leaflet.
• It should be noted that it is not up to the Trustees to preclude or include actions: They are supposed to act under the direction of policy decided by the delegates of the ADM. They are able to suggest directions which could be taken, but these must be duly proposed, debated and voted on.


The Trustees do not preclude accepting funds in the future from either the crop protection industry in the guise of the CPA or individual companies nor other organisations involved in horticulture and agriculture, which are beneficiaries of honey bee activity. The Trustees have no specific funding proposals in mind at present, but for the sake of clarity do not wish to be constrained by any notion of working with one particular industry on a 'free' basis, whilst accepting funding from individual and other corporate members to fund its activities. For example the Trustees may wish to invite companies to fund a future research colloquium, to exhibit at the BBKA Spring Convention or make a contribution to the BBKA Research Fund.

This highlights the circular movement of monies currently received by the BBKA from particular agrochem companies, directly funding research into the very products these companies are selling. EG: Keele University. This action compromises a respected university department’s research programme, leaving the impartiality of the research outcome in some doubt. A clear case of a charity compromising itself and its ‘objects’.

A medical parallel put forward by Dr John Kelly, an Ipswich BKA member is this:
“I have been a member of the Medical Research Ethics Committees for about 10 years during which the problem of financial sponsorship of research has been extensively debated with a firm conclusion. There is no doubt that this biases the researcher and affects the publication of results. Can you imagine the outcry if the BMA took cash from drug companies to endorse their products? The question of accepting advertising from them to support medical journals has been similarly resolved.”


Both the highlighted sentences of the SR paragraph above show that T&TVBKA Motion is still very much a valid proposition to discuss at the next ADM, even more so in the light of a number of new recommendations regarding further commercial relationships with the agri-chem or crop protection industry which have appeared in this Strategic Review.

As part of its strategic review the BBKA is developing a range of other products, including literature, a distinctive house style, sponsorship, logos and devices and wishes to be able to further develop these to maximise their impact and financial benefit. It is essential that any that any contractual arrangements made meets the requirements of the BBKA strategy for the coming years, with the overall aim of encouraging society to take measures which will help honey bees.

It is also essential that any contractual arrangements that the BBKA may enter into have complied with the BBKA constitution, remembering that the BBKA must act under the direction of policy decided by the delegates of the ADM and not upon decisions taken unilaterally by the Trustees.

Martin Smith

BBKA President

16th November 2010
 

Midland Beek 

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I wonder if there was a BBKA member somewhere with a legal background who was threating a review of the endorsement deals in the High Court.

One person's 'plant protection' is another person's 'wildlife poison'.
 
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wojciech 

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What change of policy ?

But the BBKA denies that it has bowed to pressure from members who have been increasingly critical of the its stance.

B*****ks - they were stunned by the response from members!!
Careful (if suspicious ) reading of Martin Smiths statement will reveal that in the light of his qualifications and hedging, there has not been any change of policy. The explantion that the BBKA is withdrawing from the present endorsements because the products are now outdated does not carry any admission that the original decision to accept money for supporting insecticides was wrong in any way. He then goes on to state that the BBKA will be working with the Crop Protection Association to support new insecticides due to be released shortly and does "not preclude accepting Money" for doing this.

There is a real risk that the membership, including new members who have only recently learnt of the issue, will believe that the battle to draw some distance from the insecticide manufacturers has been won and will not perceive the BBKA continuing to tread the same path with theeir new friends, the Crop Protection Association ie insecticide manufacturers and distributors again.

Lets not take our eyes off the ball - use the Twickenham Resolution to ensure that the BBKA does not enter into the same squalid and unethical relationships ever again. No more payments for supporting the unsupportable
 

Adam 

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Lets not take our eyes off the ball - use the Twickenham Resolution to ensure that the BBKA does not enter into the same squalid and unethical relationships ever again. No more payments for supporting the unsupportable
I wonder if this year, the similarity of the proposals will mean Twickenhams is swept away. I wonder if a new proposal may be needed next year along the lines of:

No endorsement shall be made (accepted) without a full (individual) member vote

or (and?)

The BBKA shall cease to accept any endoresement from pesticide or crop protection agencies with immediate effect. Any recieved monies shall be returned.

or (and?)

A donation (equivalent to any recieved monies) shall be made to the soil association (or anyone really) from any endorsement or sponsorship recieved from the Crop Protection agency or pesticide companies.

You can see where I'm heading, we make them ask us, and if there is anything below decks that's not so clear, we make them give away an equivalent amount (so making it uneconomic) and/or worse, send back money already recieved. I've not written that very well. Basically make sure the BBKA gets nothing out of it, nothing for the administrative effort and that maybe someone cleverer that words than me could find the right propsal wording. Perhaps Kate (at Twickenham) could act as a focal point for some clever people here to get the right propsal together. The reason I think the wording has to be spot on is to the executive can't weasel around it in anyway.

I'm sure the membership can play as many games as the executive. We should (in theory) be able to run rings around them.

Adam
 

Brosville 

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I think the important word is "should" - IF it were a genuinely democratic organisation which was open and honest with it's membership, the endorsement deals would have been out on their ears a long time ago, instead the "rule book" has been used wherever possible to hide the deals, the way in which they were made (in secret), and brandished in a Mugabe-style manner to ensure the continuance of the shady liaison, and yet the same rule book totally ignored by the ruling junta when it suits them...........
This leaves several questions hanging in the air, like "whither democracy?", but more importantly, I think underlines that the present hierarchy are clinging to their chemical bedfellows like their lives depended upon it (bees would seem to appear nowhere in their thoughts at all) - this begs the question of "why?", and if you look at the possible reasons, none of them reflect well upon the morals and point to possible downright dishonesty of those involved.....
Could it just be that some people are seeking a sinecure off the back of an ostensibly independent organisation - a nice "job or two for the boys" - salaries paid by the association for them to be wined, dined, and have their massive egoes flattered by the snake-oil salesmen of the chemical companies? - or could it be something even more disreputable? - I never managed to work out why it was worth the risk for the tiny sums shown on the books - I've said it before, I'll say it again, Inspector Knacker of the yard should be asked for his input!
 
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admin 

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I thought the decision to stop the pesticide endorsments was decided just before the shoehorning of the ex president Tim Lovett into a new and undemocratic paid role within the BBKA.

As I understand it he was appointed without consulting members first in a role to raise capital in other areas that were bee related.
 

Brosville 

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Immediately followed by a screaming, rubber-burning U-turn to the effect that it was "business as usual" - one could almost believe that the forces of darkness have some kind of "hold" over them.......... as to what that may be, we can only conjecture.... where's "Private Eye" when you need it?:biggrinjester:

Could THIS be the reason for all the chemical tie-ups? - without them, there would be no need for a paid "pestco liaison weaseller" - Putsch time methinks!
 
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Adam 

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Do you think KAte (at Twickenham) could be persuaded to run as Chairman?

Adam
 

Brosville 

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I'd second that - and if she promises to sweep away all of the old guard, institute true democracy, distance the association from the chemical companies, and fire any pestco liaison weasellers, I'll actually join!
 

Poly Hive 

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Individual Member

Be very careful how you word things.

I am an "Individual Member" you most probably are not, esp if you are a member via your association.

Individual members have NO vote as per the BBKA constitution despite paying considerably more for the privilege.

I know not how in the labyrinthine minds of the BBKA the normal member is described but it cannot be as an "Individual Member".

PH
 

Adam 

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Be very careful how you word things.

I am an "Individual Member" you most probably are not, esp if you are a member via your association.

Individual members have NO vote as per the BBKA constitution despite paying considerably more for the privilege.

I know not how in the labyrinthine minds of the BBKA the normal member is described but it cannot be as an "Individual Member".

PH
As I said, clever people who understand the minutae of detail would be needed. I was trying to think of a way that they would get bogged down. Perhaps a referendum would be a better word, of each and every member.

Adam
 

Chris B 

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I thought the decision to stop the pesticide endorsments was decided just before the shoehorning of the ex president Tim Lovett into a new and undemocratic paid role within the BBKA.

As I understand it he was appointed without consulting members first in a role to raise capital in other areas that were bee related.
Undemocratic yes.
Paid no. I don't think it's ever been about money. I reckon he fancies a knighthood. ;)
 

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