“Don’t tell the bees!”

gescheine vineyard leaves grapesWhen I walk past a field (any kind of agricultural area) and see “some white mist” being applied to it (the application is less damaging to every creature around if you don’t see the mist, btw), my brain does an impressive job of not wanting to know what is being sprayed. We should know, of course. And choose not to walk through. How can we find out? Here, I had suggested big boards listing the chemical being sprayed. Another option: Ask the Ministry for Agriculture. But it is probably fair to say that the Minister for Agriculture in Austria has taken the opposite view: I read here that he is refusing to disclose data on how much Neonicotinoide is being used as pesticide by farmers in Austria. Scientists obviously argue over how damaging Neonicotinoide is to bees, but a decision not to disclose data? The reason given was “Amtsverschwiegenheit” (lit: “official secrecy”), suggesting the data was confidential, similar to banking information being a “Bankgeheimnis”. Picture a doctor or lawyer saying ‘sorry, can’t reveal anything about my patients/clients’ and then picture the agricultural minister shrugging his shoulders to the bees: ‘Sorry, can’t tell you what the farmers are doing!’

So, next time you walk through the white mist, be aware that protecting an “official secrecy” weighs in much heavier than the wellbeing of yourself or any other creature around.