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Thread: Open letter to Hilary Benn, UK Government minister

  1. #1

    Default Open letter to Hilary Benn, UK Government minister

    This has just been posted:

    The Vegan Society has sent the following open letter

    The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP
    Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

    Dear Secretary of State,

    The Vegan Society [1] welcomes your announcement on Tuesday 21 April [2] of £10 million to research the threats to pollinating insects in the UK.

    We agree that it is vital to find sustainable solutions to the biological and environmental causes of pollinator decline.

    We urge you to focus the funding primarily on research into wild insects, such as bumble bees, beetles, moths and butterflies.

    Wild insects are valuable crop pollinators. Some important crops cannot be efficiently pollinated by farmed honey bees [3]. Evidence is emerging [4] that artificially rearing and introducing honey bees causes serious damage to wild insect pollinators. Such damaging effects of honey bee farming should be further investigated.

    The insect conservation charity, Buglife [5] state that wild insect numbers are also declining because unsustainable land use practices destroy habitats, and because agrochemicals directly harm the insects.

    A New Scientist article entitled ‘Honeybees under attack on all fronts’ [6] states that “By being highly selected for calmness and honey production, [honey] bees have lost other useful traits.”

    The Vegan Society believes that selectively bred, farmed honey bees are highly unlikely to be a sustainable pollination solution.

    We suggest that pollinator research should concentrate on how to improve conditions for wild pollinating insects.

    Yours sincerely,

    Nigel Winter
    Chief Executive
    The Vegan Society

    Contact: Amanda Baker, 0121 523 1737, 07874 664 793


    1. Founded in 1944, The Vegan Society promotes vegan lifestyles - which exclude, as far as is possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. Registered Charity No. 279228, Company Registration No. 1468880, VAT Registration No. 448 5973 95
    2. DEFRA News Release Ref: 86/09. £10 million initiative launched to tackle bee and pollinator decline (accessed 28 April 2009)
    3. Goulson D. Conserving wild bees for crop pollination Food Agric. Environ. 2003; 1: 142–144 (abstract accessed 28 April 2009)
    4. Goulson, D. Sparrow K. R. Evidence for competition between honeybees and bumblebees; effects on bumblebee worker size J Insect Conserv. 2009; 13: 177–181 (abstract accessed 28 April 2009)
    5. Buglife, the Insect Conservation Trust, is a charity dedicated to invertebrate conservation – see
    6. MacKenzie D. Honeybees under attack on all fronts New Scientist 2009; 2695: 10 (accessed 28 April 2009)


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Open letter to Hilary Benn, UK Government minister

    A good letter.
    A programme called 'Who Killed the Honey Bee' has been aired a few times recently on BBC4 about Colony Collapse Disorder. All the exploitation seems to be taking its toll on these creatures - and everyone's surprised. They shouldn't be.

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