Two non-profit organizations have been filing countless lawsuits, legal petitions, and administrative actions to stop the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for the last decade. Why? In order to stop the FWS from using genetically engineered crops and bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides in national refuge farming programs.
Using genetically engineered crops and bee-killing pesticides is counterintuitive as it ultimately interferes with the very plants and animals that the refuge system is designed to protect. Thankfully, the FWS announced in an internal memorandum earlier today that the agency will ban neonicotinoid pesticides. The agency also plans to phase out genetically engineered feed for wildlife by 2016.
“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.”
National Wildlife Refuge System Chief James Kurth said in the FWS memorandum that the agency has demonstrated its 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”.
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