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Judge throws out lawsuit by Bayer seeking to punish watchdog group for exposing truth about environment-destroying pesticide

Bayer CropScience

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(NaturalNews) While Germany's Bayer CropScience spokespeople maintain that their pesticides, Calypso and Lizetan formulations, are not toxic to bees, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) says that just the opposite is true. BUND feels that the products, which contain the neonicotinoid thiacloprid, are harmful to bees and, as such, has been involved in public awareness efforts.(1,2)

Bayer's reaction to BUND has been none other than to try to silence the watchdog group by suing them; fortunately, a judge in Dusseldorf, Germany, has tossed the lawsuit, saying that BUND has every right to voice their concerns.(1,2)

Bayer was threatening to fine BUND should they pursue their efforts and continue to demonstrate how the mega-company's pesticides are destroying bees by taking out a restraining order against the environmentally conscious group.

Bayer regrets labeling decision, cited as trying to deceive consumers

Bayer had initially labeled Calypso and similar products as "not toxic to bees," something which a Bayer spokesman later said the company regrets. He added that the products "had officially been classified as 'not harmful for bees' and were labeled as such in accordance with binding legal regulations." BUND, however, noted that neonicotinoid thiacloprid is detrimental to bees and attempted to shed light on the matter. Soon thereafter came Bayer's attempt to silence BUND.(1,2)

BUND maintains that Bayer was trying to pull the wool over consumers' eyes, expressing their view that the non-toxic labeling was "a deliberate deception of the consumer by Bayer." BUND also cited scientific papers about the ingredient which were used as evidence against Bayer.(1)

"Sublethal doses of neonicotinoids interfere selectively with the homing flight component based on this cognitive map memory, reducing the probability of successful returns to the hive," says one paper from the Free University of Berlin. "Chronic exposure to the neonicotinoid Thiacloprid reduces the attractiveness of a feeding site and the rate of recruitment."(1)

Another paper found in the journal PLOS ONE supports the fact that this pesticide ingredient is disruptive to the bee population. That particular study states that thiacloprid plays a role in destroying bee behavior, negatively impacting their ability to easily return to hives. It states, "The rate of successful return was significantly lower in treated bees, the probability of a correct turn at a salient landscape structure was reduced, and less directed flights during homing flights were performed."(3)

Bund feels that the products are so detrimental that they should be taken off the market right away. "We call on all markets to stop the sale of Thiacloprid pesticides," says Tomas Bruckmann, BUND's pesticide expert. "In addition, the EU should withdraw the authorization of the Thiacloprid
and the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) withdraw product approvals for all Thiacloprid products."(1)

Despite judge's ruling, Bayer attempts to maintain a bee-caring presence

Despite the facts that a judge has overturned Bayer's restraining order and that the company is in the midst of such harsh criticism about their use of neonicotinoids, the company's UK website -- at least as of this writing -- says, "Calypso has been the cornerstone of pest control in apples for a number of seasons as it is robust and rapid with a good IPM fit including safety to bees." IPM refers to "integrated pest management."(4)

Even across the internet and social media, Bayer attempts to brush thiacloprid pesticides under the carpet by not discussing the issue at all. Check out the logo at the top right of the site that's all about bee care, complete with a bee health magazine. A search for "Calypso" produced no results. Are we surprised?

They're even active on Twitter, showing all kinds of images of happy people at their so-called "bee care centers," where people can learn a few things about bee health and the differences between bee varieties. Ah, public relations at it's best: Show people the warm and fuzzy, feel-good news while omitting the bad and people will come to associate a company, its people and its products with being wonderful. But today, many people know better, as they're increasingly becoming wiser to corporate attempts to gloss over issues. Can't fool us, Bayer.

While the company may continue to engage in use of such pesticides -- for now, anyway, -- the fact that the judge overturned their request to keep BUND quiet is a significant step for those concerned about the plight of bees.

Bruckmann said, "We are delighted with this achievement. This is a victory for the bees and freedom."(1)

Sources for this article include:

(1) http://www.theecologist.org

(2) http://www.fginsight.com

(3) http://journals.plos.org

(4) http://www.bayercropscience.co.uk

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