The use of agri­cul­tural toxins in Europe will remain unabated: EU pesticide reduction bill rejected

29 November 2023

A majority of the European Parliament blocked the approval of a European pesticide reduction law. The bill had been watered down considerably during the lengthy process leading up to the vote. The section in which pesticide use would be reduced by at least 50% by 2030 was scrapped, as was the section demanding a reduction of at least 65% in the use of hazardous agricultural toxins by the same date. Right-wing MEPs also voted to strike all restrictions on the use of pesticides in sensitive nature areas from the bill. In fact, the pesticide reduction bill was watered down to such an extent that it could no longer be endorsed by either green or progressive MEPs. As a result, the majority of the European Parliament voted to reject the bill.

“Today, right-wing and extreme right-wing parties voted in favour of even more agricultural toxins in our environment and residential areas. They were clearly influenced by the pesticide industry. This decision is disastrous for the environment and for the health of both humans and animals. The only ones to benefit from this decision are pesticide producers, such as Bayer-Monsanto and BASF, who have now secured their multi-billion-dollar profits for the time being. We aim to keep fighting for a pesticide-free agricultural industry and ditto living environment,” proclaimed Anja Hazekamp, MEP for the Party of the Animals, in response to the news.

Hazekamp participated in the negotiations for the pesticide reduction law. Banning the use of pesticides in agriculture is in the interest of citizens, farmers, animals, nature and the environment. Agricultural toxins pollute our food, our soil, our ground water and our rivers. They kill animals, disrupt nature and are hazardous to our health. Farmers and other people living in rural areas have particularly high chances of becoming ill due to the enormously high concentration of toxins used in the environment in which they live. A lot of food also contains pesticide residues, which is hazardous to the health of everyone on the planet.

A study by the European Food Safety Authority showed that approximately 40% of the food sold in the EU contains pesticide residues. Pesticide residues are found in fruit, vegetables, meat products and eggs.

The Party for the Animals will keep fighting for a ban on the use of pesticides in Europe. At the beginning of 2021 MEP Hazekamp submitted an amendment intended to reduce the use of pesticides in European agriculture by 70% as from 2030. The fact that the bill has now been decisively rejected is only serving to strengthen the party’s fighting spirit. “A toxin-free environment ensures a food system that is healthier, more honest and more ecologically friendly”, concludes Hazekamp.