David Heath wants neonics back

Here in Britain, our Minister of State for Agriculture and Food is David Heath. He’s not very impressed by the way three ‘bee killing’ neonicotinoids have been banned in the European Union (EU).

Wildlife Extra tells us that Mr Heath stirred up a swarm of buzzing with his comments about neonics last week. I’m grateful to my fellow blogger petrel41 for drawing attention to this. You might follow the Wildlife Extra link that I’ve just showed you, and the one to Buglife on neonics.

So who is Mr Heath? He’s one of the top people working with Owen Paterson at the Department for Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Mr Heath is a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), meaning that our Queen named him in her Honours List, and he’s a Member of Parliament (MP).

At DEFRA Mr Heath’s responsibilities include animal health (including endemic and exotic diseases); farming and food; hunting and shooting; the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE); the Single Payments Scheme to farmers; and the welfare of farm animals.

He must know a thing or two about the land then, mustn’t he? Perhaps I’m missing something. He’s worked as a registered optician. Before his party (the Liberal Democrats) came to power in coalition with the Conservatives, Mr Heath had been Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Leader of the House of Commons. He’d been Deputy Leader of the House of Commons.

Where’s your science, Mr Heath? Where’s your knowledge of the land? You’re a career politician who thinks that the EU ban on neonics was pushed through in haste. Not everybody agrees with you.

I don’t like to contradict you, Mr Heath, because you and I are in the same political party. But on neonics, I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.

About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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