Live butterfly in Mother’s Day gift box creates stir

6th May 2009, Comments 3 comments

Intratuin Netherlands wants to pack live butterflies and sell them as Mother’s Day gifts.

THE NETHERLANDS – News that live butterflies will be packaged as Mother’s Day gifts and sold in garden centre Intratuin has been criticised by the Animal Rights Party (PvdD) and the Dutch Butterfly Conservation in the Netherlands.

The PvdD, which holds two seats in the 150-seat lower house of parliament, slams the sale of a live butterfly in a box as cruel and has asked the Nature Minister Gerda Verburg to ban the sale of the “fragile creatures”.

PvdD leader Esther Ouwehand was quoted in the AD as saying: "This is bizarre; butterflies do not belong in boxes."

The thistle butterflies, which will be sold in one of Intratuin branches in South Holland, will be priced at EUR 6.99 each.

The sales promotion is aimed at highlighting the plight of some butterfly species in the Netherlands, said a spokesperson for Intratuin. The company expects purchasers to release the insects within 24 hours, thus boosting the butterfly population.

The Dutch Butterfly Conservation condemns the plan and fears that many thistle butterflies are unlikely to survive their time spent in the box.

"It's a really bad idea. The chance that the butterfly will die is really, really high. If they get warm in the box, they start flapping their wings, get stressed and damage their wings," said Kars Veling of the Dutch Butterfly Conservation organisation.

However, Intratuin maintains there is nothing wrong with selling live butterflies.

"We are always very careful with the sale of live animals… It's also part of a campaign to make people aware of the fact that butterflies are facing serious problems in this country," said an Intratuin spokesperson.

The argument is invalid according to Veling who said butterfly numbers have fallen dramatically over the last 30 to 40 years due to the enormous changes in the Dutch landscape.

“Releasing a few butterflies won't help at all," said Veling.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

3 Comments To This Article

  • Dale McClung posted:

    on 7th May 2009, 16:25:36 - Reply

    The "thistle" butterfly, Cynthia cardui, is the most common butterfly in the world and is a migratory species. In Europe, the spring migration originates from the Mediterranean region and this butterfly can migrate as north as Northern Scandinavia where it reproduces and where the new brood appears at the end of the summer. Releasing this species on Mother's Day is perfect timing to have these butterflies supplement the migration influx as they are heavily predated by birds when in migration swarms. I am always amazed that conservation groups oppose releasing butterflies. It is not cruel, and Cynthia cardui can survive without food or water for days. They rarely die if confinement to the packaging is limited to 48 hours. The "box" is designed usually to keep their wings immobilized to prevent damage until released. I know. I have been a commercial breeder of butterflies for the past ten years and am very familiar with this species. The fact this promotion was designed to bring awareness to the plight of butterfly populations is lost in the overreaction by emotional so called conservationists to bring publicity to themselves is shameful. They should applaud the releases. For the most part, my experience with these folk is that they have an emotional attachment to butterflies, but do not understand their behaviors as we who live with them on a day to day basis do. The next time you swat a mosquito, think about what you have just done and the difference in emotion.
  • AndreaUKA posted:

    on 7th May 2009, 12:50:21 - Reply

    In what way Teresa? I thought the article (mostly quotes) was written in suitable impartial fashion. Having said that, selling live butterflies (most of which will probably be killed by the cay or kids) is, imo, ridiculous, unnecessary and cruel. In fact, it's rather bizarre, as is selling birds to be kept caged.
  • theresa posted:

    on 7th May 2009, 04:29:51 - Reply

    your article on the ban of mothers day butterflies, is truely proof that
    articles are written without knowledge or understanding..