Follow the Honey: Report Reveals Pesticide Companies Using Tobacco PR Tactics to Trick Public

pesticides bee
Environment

pesticides beeOur bees are being decimated, with a huge link existing between Bayer, Monsanto, and Syngenta’s use of neonicotinoid pesticides and the death of bee populations. But these corporate giants don’t want you to know that, so they have resorted to some of the best PR techniques ever used to sell poison to the people – ‘tobacco logic.’

A new report called Follow the Honey reveals how pesticide companies Bayer, Syngenta, and Monsanto are using past PR tactics similar to Big Tobacco to create doubt about science and trick politicians and the public into delaying action to help save the bees.

According to several environmental groups, Bayer is meeting this week with its stockholders in order to figure out how to delay spending millions to help save the bees they helped to kill with their neonicotinoids, used on over 140 crops, and virtually all GMO corn and soy and much of the canola planted in the US.

The report states:

“In 2013, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a scientific review stating that neonicotinoids pose an unacceptably high risk to bees, and the industry-sponsored science upon which regulatory agencies have historically relied is inadequate for assessing potential impacts on pollinators. . . The EFSA recommended that the three most-used neonicicotinoids— imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam—should not be used on crops attractive to bees, and as a result, the European Commission implemented a continent-wide two-year suspension on these insecticides.”

Despite this, these corporations are utilizing the same tactics the industry used to shield the public from knowing the truth about BPA, DDT, asbestos, and yes, cigarettes.

Read: Top 10 Companies Killing the Natural World with Pesticides

Here’s how they do it:

  • The pesticide industry pretends to give a flying…insect about whether or not all pollinators die, acting as if they are playing a ‘key role’ in helping to save bees. Last year, for example, Bayer launched its mobile “Bee Care Tour”. All this is meant to do is control public opinion and shield them from further inquiry about the use of neonics. “Big Tobacco perfected the art of self-serving public relations, to appear to care about the very problems their products caused and then offered alleged solutions.” These charlatans will also be in several states during ‘bee pollinator week’ creating a PR buzz.
  • They blame everything for the demise of bee colonies – except pesticide use. Helmut Schramm, head of Bayer CropScience Germany, explained: “It’s generally known that the varroa mite is the main enemy of the bee.” To further distract attention, Bayer has even erected a giant sculpture of the varroa mite on a bee at its “Bee Care” Center in Germany. As the New York Times notes, “Conveniently, Bayer markets products to kill the mites too”. How nice of them.
  • They fuss with our politics. The EU is way ahead of the US as far as making neonics illegal, but with all the shenanigans practiced by Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto, it causes our policy-makers to stalemate. The EPA as well as Congress have become nothing more than drug pushers.The USDA ignores the fact that bee colonies are disappearing left and right. They have no accountability, since half of them are on biotech’s payroll, or have corporate affiliations with Bayer, Monsanto, or Syngenta themselves. Dr. David Fisher tells our politicians about “Bayer’s 25-year commitment to promoting bee health and sustainable agricultural practices.” Who are they kidding?
  • Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto all reach deep into scientific communities to try to maintain alliances that will support shoddy science showing neonicotinoids do no harm, and refute evidence which says they do enormous harm. They also cultivate friendships with farmers, beekeepers, and agricultural organizations in order to bolster the legitimacy of their arguments and position themselves as “friends of the bees”.
  • They buy experts. Monsanto announced the formation of a Honey Bee Advisory Council, a strategic alliance comprised of Monsanto executives and some other paid lackeys. Even with a friendly audience, a post-summit survey found that only 14% of attendees felt pesticides were examined well. It doesn’t just happen in the US, either. The British Bee Keepers Association gets tons of cash from Bayer and Syngenta.
  • They brainwash your children. Bayer recently released a book called Toby and the Bees that details a friendly neighborhood beekeeper explaining to young Toby that bees are getting sick but “not to worry” as it’s just a problem with mites. A special medicine will make the bees healthy. Look for neonicotinoid bottles with friendly bee faces on them or dancing ‘mite’ medicine cartoons soon. Maybe that sounds contrived, but this is about the extent the biotech companies will go to corrupt young minds.
  • Tobacco companies once blamed the victims of their game – even though they television commercials with doctors smoking Lucky Strikes and Marlboros telling us how good they were for us. They turned around after and said, ‘we should have known cigarettes were bad,’ suggesting somehow they were not culpable for their billion-dollar ad campaigns to get the whole US chain smoking. Now, the big three pesticide pushers are using the same tactics. They blame farmers, though. Syngenta claims:“The small number of instances of damage to bee health from these pesticides has come from the very rare occasions when farmers have used the product incorrectly (e.g. not followed label instructions).” Or how about this absurdity – it’s our fault, collectively: “Many people are afraid of bees, wasps, hornets, and many other flying insects. This fear converts, unfortunately, into a major health threat to bees, as too many people simply kill them if they fly into a home or too near to people”

Everyone needs to educate themselves about the ‘soft-sell’ of neonicotinoids to the world, as well as the more aggressive tactics that these corporations will use to wipe out one of the most important pollinators on the planet. Without bees, lose a whole list of foods. We shouldn’t wait, as we did with Big Tobacco, to see the damage before taking them to court for mass murder of the natural world. Neonicotinoids should be banned immediately.