Genetically engineered crops fed to wildlife and a ban on neonicotinoid insecticides will be implemented nationwide by January 2016 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. The Center for Food Safety, (CFS), announcement follows a longstanding grassroots, legal and policy campaign.
The FWS announced its decision in an internal memorandum. “We have demonstrated our ability to successfully accomplish refuge purposes over the past two years without using genetically modified crops, therefore, it is no longer possible to say that their use is essential to meet wildlife management objectives. We will no longer use genetically modified crops to meet wildlife management objectives System-wide,” wrote National Wildlife Refuge System Chief James Kurth in the memorandum.
“GE crops and toxic pesticides violate the basic purposes of our protected national lands,” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of Center for Food Safety. “We applaud the Fish and Wildlife Service for recognizing what our legal challenges have repeatedly stated and courts have repeatedly held: that they must stop permitting these harmful agricultural practices.”
Reports from a recent U.S. Geological Survey found widespread contamination of neonicotinoids throughout the Midwest region, illustrating the severity of the environmental impact.
Calls have been made to implement the ban with immediate effect and not wait until 2016. “We are gratified that the Fish and Wildlife Service has finally concluded that industrial agriculture, with GE crops and powerful pesticides, is both bad for wildlife and inappropriate on refuge lands,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “Since refuges have already demonstrated that they do not need these practices, we would urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to make the ban immediate, not wait until 2016, and to eliminate the loopholes in its new policy.”
Center for Food Safety