Party for the Animals successful in the fight against pesti­cides

12 October 2021

Thanks to a proposal by the Dutch Party for the Animals, the use of pesticides in Dutch agriculture is coming to an end. A majority of the House of Representatives last week supported the call to help farmers switch to an entirely non-toxic way of farming by 2035. And in the European Parliament, a majority voted in favour of the Party for the Animals’ proposal to ban a dangerous fungicide.

Floriculture in the Netherlands. For the cultivation of lilies, tulips and potatoes – of which almost 90 percent is traded worldwide – pesticides are used on a large scale, with harmful consequences for both residents and nature.

An estimated 2 to 3.5 million tonnes of pesticides are used worldwide every year. This large-scale use of chemical pesticides seriously damages soil life, birds, and insects, it poisons our ground- and surface water and endangers our food supply. It is also a health risk to farmers and those who live near treated plots, and to consumers of vegetables, fruit and - according to recent research - of dairy and other animal products.

The Dutch Party for the Animals’ proposal, which was adopted by the House of Representatives last week, calls on the Minister of Agriculture to set concrete goals to definitively phase out the use of pesticides. In addition, it must come up with a solid plan to help farmers make the transition. The Party for the Animals points to the successful European Citizens' Initiative 'Save bees and farmers' as a useful guide for this. The initiative, signed by 1.2 million people, calls for an 80% reduction in pesticide use by 2030 and a completely non-toxic way of farming five years after that.

Meanwhile in the European Parliament, MEP Anja Hazekamp managed to get majority support for her proposal to take the fungicide 'difenoconazole' and weedkiller 'chlortoluron' off the market. Both are dangerous to nature, soil and water, and to public health.

For years now, both substances are being re-examined by the European Union, but any conclusions have yet to be published. "There is plenty of evidence that the substances are a risk to humans, animals and the environment. The EU must apply the precautionary principle and take the pesticides off the market," said MEP Hazekamp.

For years, Hazekamp has been fighting for non-toxic and sustainable agriculture in the EU. She wants the use of toxins in agriculture to be reduced by 70% and not, as per the EU target, by 50%. And dangerous pesticides should be banned altogether. "Half of all fruit and vegetables in Europe still contain harmful pesticide residues, and more than a quarter even a cocktail of toxins," says Hazekamp. The Party for the Animals wants all fruit and vegetables in circulation to be free of toxic residues by 2030.