News / Europe

Top British Fashion Designers Create Buzz at London Bee Protest

Designer Vivienne Westwood (C), and a person in a Winnie The Pooh costume join campaigners protesting in Parliament Square to urge Britain's government to ban the use of pesticides containing neonicotinoids, in central London, April 26, 2013.
Designer Vivienne Westwood (C), and a person in a Winnie The Pooh costume join campaigners protesting in Parliament Square to urge Britain's government to ban the use of pesticides containing neonicotinoids, in central London, April 26, 2013.
Reuters
— Top British fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and Katharine Hamnett joined bee campaigners on Parliament Square in London on Friday, to urge the government to support a proposed European Union (EU) ban on pesticides which harm bees.

Britain is currently blocking attempts to introduce a Europe-wide ban on the world's most widely used insecticides, neonicotinoids, arguing their impact on bees is unclear.

A vote takes place in Brussels on April 29 on whether to ban the poisons on flowering crops.

"If there's any chance that they're killing the bees as a precautionary measure they need to be banned. And the British government is committing political suicide I think by not supporting this ban, I mean we've even got Bulgaria supporting this for Christ sake,'' said Hamnett who has campaigned against pesticides for decades.

Both Britain and Germany were in the minority in abstaining from a vote earlier this year. Hamnett questioned whether this is because two major pesticide companies, Germany's Bayer and Swiss company Syngenta, which has operations in the UK, are lobbying against the ban.

"Are they in bed with Syngenta or Bayer or are they just stupid?'' Hamnett asked.

The fashion duo then handed in a petition to Downing Street which urges the government to put environmental concerns ahead of pressure from the agribusiness lobby.

"Why is government supporting big business because it doesn't help people at all, what is good for the planet is good for the economy, not what is good for big business is good for the economy and this is what our problem is,'' said Westwood outside Number Ten Downing Street.

Bees are currently suffering a sharp decline and colony collapse, due to a variety of reasons.

Crucial role

Bees are crucial for the planet as they perform a vital role in pollinating crops. Campaigners say if bees disappear there will be catastrophic effects on the world.

"I feel angry and worried and sad because bees have been around probably longer than us and I don't think it's right that we can stand aside and see bees die like this and not do something about it,'' said beekeeper Catherine Beaumont on Parliament Square.

The campaigners want pre-emptive action taken on banning pesticides while more research is carried out to fully assess how seriously pesticides affect bees.

"This could become a really serious problem. There are parts of China where they have to pollinate fruit trees by hand because they have wiped out their insects through overuse of chemicals, so we really want to act now before it gets to that stage,'' explained Quentin Gibon who joined the protest wearing a bee costume.

Earlier this year EU governments failed to agree a ban on three widely used pesticides linked to the decline of honeybees, but the European Commission is threatening to force such a ban through unless member states agree on a compromise next week.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid