A few years ago monarch butterflies were a common site. This has changed drastically with the species on the verge of extinction and monarch population numbers falling by 90% in less than 20 years. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is currently considering listing the monarch as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. An investigative report released by the Center for Food Safety has directly traced the monarch butterfly decline to the pervasive and prevalent use of Roundup. The herbicide is used to treat millions of acres of herbicide-tolerant genetically engineered (GE) crops.
The environmental impact of the herbicide application has resulted in the monarch butterfly’s only source of food, milkweed, being eliminated. The report, (http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/cfs-monarch-report_2-4-15_design_05341.pdf), specifically cites findngs that glyphosate use on Roundup Ready (glyphosate-tolerant) crops has nearly eradicated milkweed around farmland in the monarchs’ vital midwest breeding ground.
“This report is a wake-up call. This iconic species is on the verge of extinction because of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crop system,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at Center for Food Safety. “To let the monarch butterfly die out in order to allow Monsanto to sell its signature herbicide for a few more years is simply shameful.”
M“The alarming decline of monarchs is driven in large part by the massive spraying of glyphosate herbicide on genetically engineered crops, which has virtually eliminated monarch habitat in the corn and soybean fields that dominates the Midwest landscape,” said Bill Freese, Center for Food Safety science policy analyst and co-author of the report. “Glyphosate is the monarch’s enemy number one. To save this remarkable species, we must quickly boost milkweed populations and curtail the use of herbicide-resistant crop systems.”
“Milkweed growing in Midwest cropland is essential to the monarch’s continued survival. Without milkweed, we’ll have no monarchs,” said . Martha Crouch, Ph.D., biologist with Center for Food Safety and co-author of the report. “Very few of us fully understand the ecological impacts of our food system, but we need to pay attention. The decline of the monarch is a stark reminder that the way we farm matters.”
Center for Food Safety