Alberta beekeepers speak out against the class action lawsuit

Sep 17, 2014

By Amanda Brodhagen,

The Alberta Beekeepers Commission, which dubbed themselves as “leaders of the Canadian honeybee industry,” in a province which is home to more than 45 per cent of the honeybee industry in Canada, say that they do not support the class action suit recently filed by some Ontario beekeepers against Bayer CropScience and Syngenta over their neonicotinoid seed treatment products.

Earlier this month, a $450 million class action lawsuit was filed against Bayer and Syngenta - makers of neonicotinoid pesticides. Siskinds LLP filed the suit on behalf of two Ontario beekeepers, Sun Parlor Honey Ltd. and Munro Honey. Plaintiffs claim that the companies in question “were negligent in their manufacture, sale and distribution of neonicotinoids in Ontario that caused beekeepers to suffer significant losses and damage.”

The industry group notes that while it recognizes that the use of certain agrochemicals can adversely affect honeybees, it also understands that the use of modern seed treatment technology is important for agriculture and should be made accessible to farmers. They compare the use of current seed treatment technology (neonicotinoids) to that of organophosphates and foliar applications used in the past, arguing that that the use of neonicotinoid treated seed “significantly reduces honeybee exposure to pesticides.”

The commission says it would like to see agricultural stakeholders work together, not against one another when tackling issues related to bee health. It firmly believes that the agrochemical industry recognizes the important role that honeybees and other pollinators play in agriculture, specifically maintaining a reliable food supply. “We believe that working together with appropriate research, management and education of all stakeholders will ensure that modern agriculture and honeybees can coexist,” the commission said in a September 17 release.