American Bird Conservancy has sent letters to two of the nation’s largest manufacturers of wild bird seeds, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and Kaytee Products, seeking assurance that the company supply chains remain free of neonicotinoid insecticides, which can be fatally poisonous to birds.
“American Bird Conservancy (ABC) would like to direct your attention to the neonicotinoid coatings that are commonly applied to corn, canola, sunflower, millet, and other types of seeds,” says the letter. “Our recently completed scientific assessment concluded that these insecticides routinely are incorporated into seeds and are lethal to birds. We want to ensure that these insecticidal treatments are never found on the bird seed that your companies sell to consumers for feeding pets and wild birds.”
ABC recently released a 100-page scientific report on the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on birds, The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds.These chemicals are applied as seed treatments in agricultural and horticultural seed products. For some crops such as corn, close to 100 percent of seed on the market is treated. ABC reviewed 200 studies on neonicotinoids, including industry research obtained through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.
The ABC report found that a single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird. Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the oldest neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, can fatally poison a bird. And as little as one-tenth of a neonicotinoid-coated corn seed per day during egg-laying season is all that is needed to affect reproduction. Low-level exposure to neonicotinoids is associated with a range of potentially debilitating effects such as egg-shell thinning and loss of muscle coordination.
“Given that a single neonicotinoid-coated seed can fatally poison a bird, it is important that the seeds marketed for home bird feeders remain free of these chemical treatments,” said Cynthia Palmer, Pesticides Program Manager for ABC. In response to past wild bird seed contamination incidents, ABC has implemented random testing of bird seed sold by major retailers. To date, ABC’s independent bird seed testing efforts have focused on older products such as the organophosphorous and carbamate pesticides. The ABC letter, however, asserts that “Neonicotinoids are also now a candidate for future testing.”
Since the use of neonicotinoid coatings is nearly ubiquitous in many seed crops grown in the United States, ABC wants to make sure that the seeds sold by bird seed manufacturers for use in backyard bird feeders remain free from neonicotinoid insecticides. “It would be wretched if bird watchers were unknowingly poisoning the very birds that they seek to nurture and enjoy with their families,” said Palmer.
ABC is asking the Scotts Miracle-Gro and Kaytee companies to provide documentation showing that their bird seed supply chains are indeed pure and free of imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and other neonicotinoid insecticides.
The 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (large document – 26 MB), conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, reports that the nation’s nearly 47 million birdwatchers spend over $4 billion annually on bird feed.
This article was written and published by American Bird Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats, while building capacity in the bird conservation movement.
Share this post with your friends
You may also like:
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farming? – [3494 Views]
- POLL: Should foxes be culled to protect domestic pets? – [2017 Views]
- POLL: Should Nevada’s wild horses be protected from roundups and slaughter? – [1806 Views]
- POLL: Should the export of young elephants to Chinese zoos be banned? – [1497 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a total ban on trade in rhino horn? – [1266 Views]
- POLL: Should trail (fox) hunting on National Trust land be stopped? – [1173 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on the shark fin trade? – [1014 Views]
- POLL: Should the Grand Canyon Bison be culled? – [940 Views]
- Radioactive Boar Wreak Havoc on Swedish Landscape – [876 Views]
- POLL: Would you support the reintroduction of the wolf in the UK? – [832 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- POLL: Should hunting with hounds be banned? – [7632 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [7121 Views]
- POLL: Should the trophy hunting of bears and wolves be banned? – [3696 Views]
- POLL: Should the slaughter of badgers in the UK be finally stopped? – [3038 Views]
- POLL: Should the cruel sport of bullfighting be banned? [2873 Views]
- POLL: Should Canada ban the hunting of seals? [2667 Views]
- POLL: Should the Tories be allowed to bring back fox hunting? [2578 Views]
- POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [2322 Views]
- POLL: Should Japan be sanctioned for slaughtering Minke whales? [2289 Views]
- POLL: Should all tiger farms in China be closed down? [2081 Views]