Organisation - April 24, 2012

Animal party carried out bee protest on campus

Wageningen scientists should stop denying that a link exists between agricultural toxins and bee mortality, wrote Esther Ouwehand of the Party for the Animals (PvdD) to Aalt Dijkhuizen.

The protestors put up the slogan 'Bijscholing' (retraining) on the signboard at the entrance to the campus. The placard has been taken down. The plants and bee hotels at Radix have also been removed.
The open letter was delivered on Saturday during a PvdD protest on campus. A delegation from the party sowed flower seeds at Radix, placed some shrubs there and put up bee hotels. The protest highlighted the campaign 'Bees like organic' carried out by Bionext, the Bee Foundation and other organizations.
The letter to Dijkhuizen suggests that Wageningen bee researchers expressly close their eyes to the dangers of neonicotinoids for bees. These are toxic substances used to protect plants (seeds) against insects. The PvdD points specifically to a study by scientist Tjeed Blacquière which brings forward the conclusion that there is no evidence that neonicotinoids can cause large-scale bee mortality.
The letter calls on Dijkhuizen to take responsibility. 'Would you be able to shoulder the responsibility for a failure to tackle one of the apparent causes of bee mortality, partly because a statement from your institution says that there is no reason for action?' According to spokesperson Simon Vink, Wageningen UR shares the concerns of the PvdD for bee mortality. 'But we disagree about the causes.'
Vink says that Wageningen UR does see a link between bee mortality and the use of neonicotinoids. 'Yes, there is a link. Neonicotinoids are indeed used to kill insects. But no, their use thereof is not the major cause of bee mortality. Our researchers have discovered what they have discovered and have put up a report. Should they make a sudden about-turn in their thinking now?'