A letter, drafted by Congress member representative Chellie Pingree, supported by 52 members of congress requested President Obama to place the Monarch butterfly on the endangered species list. The Monarch butterfly population has dropped by 90 percent in the last 20 years causing wide spread alarm in environmental circles.
A petition initiated by Center for Food Safety and The Center for Biological Diversity is currently pending before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service to list Monarch butterflies as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and to secure stronger protections for this iconic butterfly and its habitat.
“Listing monarch butterflies as a threatened species is essential to their survival,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at Center for Food Safety. “An iconic species is on the verge of extinction because of our chemically intensive agricultural system. This petition is the scientific and legal blueprint for creating the protection that the monarch so direly needs. We thank Representative Pingree for her stalwart support and hope that this sends a strong signal to the Obama Administration.” “The loss of habitat and devastation of the monarch population should be a wakeup call. If we keep applying ever increasing amounts of chemicals to farm lands it’s going to have an impact on the environment.”
Environmental groups and advocates have pushed for the recognition of the devastation of the Monarch butterfly’s habitat caused by the widespread planting of genetically engineered crops in the Midwest. Genetically engineered crops are designed to be resistant to Roundup, a potent herbicide, which wipes out milkweed; the monarch’s caterpillar source of food.
“The monarch butterfly is the ‘canary in the cornfield’ – it serves as a critical indicator species by highlighting larger environmental problems with our chemically-intensive agricultural system. Many species of pollinators, not just monarchs, are at risk if we don’t address the underlying problems with our food system,” said Larissa Walker, pollinator campaign director at Center for Food Safety
Center for Food Safety