PARIS, Feb 27 (AFP) – French environmentalists and bee-keepers Friday demanded the government ban outright a pesticide whose sales were suspended this week because of suspicions it was killing off bees in huge numbers.
A farmers’ union led by anti-globalisation campaigner Jose Bove led the charge against the product, marketed under several brand-names including Regent TS, one day after staging an occupation of a national food safety agency in Paris during which activists stole several confidential government documents relating to the matter.
Bove and several of the activists were arrested and briefly detained for the demonstration, and police said Friday they were investigating the theft.
Among the documents, which they made available to the media, there was an agriculture ministry report which deemed that the government’s decision to give farmers till June to use up their remaining stocks of the pesticide was much less costly than destroying the crop seeds already sprayed.
But the national association of bee-keepers says massive damage is being done to bee populations, which are crucial to plant pollination.
The association and Bove’s union are calling for a total and immediate ban on the use of the main molecule involved – fipronil.
Subisidiaries of German groups Bayer and BASF, which sold Regent TS,are under criminal investigation in France for selling an agricultural product that is toxic to humans or animals.
Bayer’s unit is also under investigation for destroying private property – an accusation related to the death of the bees.
Subject: France news