Last week, a majority of the European Parliament endorsed recommendations from the special committee on pesticides. The Dutch Party for the Animals took a seat in the committee, providing it with critical recommendations: less chemicals, more transparency and independence and no more animal testing to assess the safety of agricultural chemicals.
Party for the Animals MEP Anja Hazekamp
The European Parliament adopted the committee’s recommendation that Europe should be more transparent and independent from industry in their assessment of the safety of agricultural chemicals. In addition, the amount of agrochemicals used should be reduced and more money should be made available for non-chemical alternatives. The use of agrochemicals in public places such as parks, schools and playgrounds should be prohibited.
The special committee on pesticides was established after the controversial EU approval of agricultural chemical glyphosate, which, according to the World Health Organisation, is potentially carcinogenic. One of the committee’s initiators was MEP Anja Hazekamp, who also took a seat in the committee, allowing her to make sure that research was conducted critically and thoroughly.
The special committee wants experts to reassess whether the EU institutions did their work properly, when they assessed the carcinogenic properties of glyphosate. Some time ago, it became clear that rather than carrying out an independent investigation into the health effects of glyphosate, the EU institutions copied over 500 pages from studies conducted by the producers of agrochemicals themselves.
According to MEP Anja Hazekamp, the committee on pesticides has made good recommendations to improve the assessment of agrochemicals in the future: “Producers of chemicals such as Monsanto should be kept at a distance and shouldn’t be allowed to deliver all of the research themselves. Also, scientists should be clearer on their interests in order to prevent any hidden agendas. Those are recommendations that will reduce the risk of unreliable assessments, like with glyphosate.”
As far as the Party for the Animals is concerned, the committee on pesticides should have distanced itself more from the unjustified approval of glyphosate. Hazekamp: “Plagiarism experts have factually and unequivocally proven that the EU institutions have not provided a valid safety assessment that justifies the approval of glyphosate. Serious doubts about the chemical remain. In such cases, the precautionary principle must apply: when a product’s safety is not guaranteed, it has no place in our food or in the environment. Glyphosate should be withdrawn from the market.”
No more animal testing for agrochemicals
Hazekamp is also pleased that her proposal to replace animal testing with other methods was accepted by the committee. “Animals should not be used to demonstrate the so-called safety of chemicals. That is why, on the initiative of the Party for the Animals, the committee on pesticides has called for the use of non-animal test methods, and the European Parliament has rightly agreed.”