Pesti­cides in milk may be cause of connection between dairy consumption and Parkin­son’s disease

14 April 2021

Scientific research points to a possible connection between the lifelong consumption of dairy products and a heightened risk of Parkinson’s disease. This connection might be caused by remnants of pesticides, consumed by cows in their fodder and subsequently finding their way into cow milk. The Dutch Party for the Animals has submitted written questions and pleads for stricter regulations on the admission of new pesticides. The party also wants all pesticides and agricultural toxins currently in use to be tested again for possible neurological effects on consumers. Besides this, the party urges the EU to stop subsidising meat and dairy marketing.

It has been known for quite a while that the industrial use of chemical pesticides damages soil life, birds, insects, our ground and surface water, and that it threatens our food supply. Concerns about the health risks for farmers who use pesticides and those living near such farms have also been voiced before. That pesticides might also pose a problem to dairy consumers is an issue that has as of yet received little attention.

Previous research has shown that cow manure is filled with remnants of agricultural toxins, as a result of the toxic residue in cow fodder. The Party for the Animals thinks that it is highly plausible that these remnants also end up in cow milk. Still, the possible effects on consumers of dairy, meat and eggs are not taken into account during the admission process of pesticides for fodder crops. There are also no maximum standards for toxic residue on crops meant to feed livestock, such as fodder beet, pasture grass and silage mais. These omissions are an unacceptable risk to public health, the Party for the Animals states.

In the Dutch House of Representatives, the party pushes for a speedy introduction of limits for the allowed amount of toxic remnants in fodder. The party also wants future toxins, and pesticides that have already been admitted to market, to be tested for possible neurological effects as soon as possible, taking them out of circulation if necessary.

The battle against agricultural toxins in the European Parliament

Anja Hazekamp presents her plans to improve the “Farm to Fork” strategy to the European Parliament. © European Union 2021 - Source: EP

The Party for the Animals also takes the lead in the fight against the admission of harmful pesticides in the European Parliament. On the initiative of the European representatives of the party, the European Parliament objected to the use of hazardous toxins no less than 25 times in the past two years. Just last month, a majority of the parliament supported an official objection by the Party for the Animals against the admission of the fungicide dimoxystrobin, an agricultural toxin that even in very low concentrations has a disruptive effect on hormones.

In spite of these objections, the European Commission has only incidentally taken hazardous pesticides off the market. A writing on the wall, according to Anja Hazekamp, MEP on behalf of the Party for the Animals. “There still is a huge democratic deficit in the way the European Union is currently structured. The European Commission prefers to protect pesticide-producing multinationals. Elected representatives of the people have insufficient means to correct the Commission. Nevertheless, we will keep fighting against every harmful agricultural toxin and we will lodge official objections for future decisions that are destructive to humans, animals, nature and the environment. The large majority in the European Parliament that supports us in doing this is encouraging. One day, our growing resistance will win.”

Stop the EU promotion of dairy and meat!

Picture from the Greenpeace report ‘Marketing Meat. How EU promotional funds favour meat and dairy’, Greenpeace Europe Unit.

The possible connection between the consumption of dairy and neurological diseases such as Parkinson once again puts the millions of euros spent on European marketing for dairy and meat in a negative light as well. As Greenpeace recently showed, the European Union spent 252 million euros of taxpayers’ money on marketing for dairy and meat in the past five years to ensure a stable consumption of animal products. This was done in spite of warnings by scientists about the catastrophic effects that industrial livestock farming has on nature, climate, and public health.

Late last year, the Party for the Animals voted against the new Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union and the associated billions of euros in subsidies for the meat industry. At the beginning of this year, MEP Anja Hazekamp, rapporteur for the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, submitted 150 proposals to make the European food system more sustainable. As Hazekamp summarised at the presentation of her plans in the European Parliament: “Fewer toxins, fewer antibiotics, and fewer animals!” Because: “The way in which we produce our food in Europe has large scale effects on the climate, the environment, the health and the well-being of both humans and animals around the world.”

Sign the petition!
In light of the serious problems that our current agricultural system entails, the Party for the Animals and her sister parties call for a food revolution. They have started a petition addressed to government leaders around the world: “Us, the animal rights parties of the world, urgently press our governments to radically change the system.” The parties invite everyone to sign and share the petition.