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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid