38 degrees call on eBay UK to ban pesticides that kill bees

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Campaigning organization 38 degrees has called on eBay UK to ban specific pesticides that are harmful to bees. Such products were banned last year by the EU and eBay in the UK, and across Europe has already banned such products for sale.

So why has 38 degrees got a bee in their bonnet about eBay? Well, they are worried that unwitting British buyers will buy the pesticides in question from sellers in the US. There the chemicals are not banned.

The email to 38 degrees members reads: “eBay sell shoes, blenders, headphones, handbags, t-shirts – and right now, they also sell illegal pesticides which kill bees.

Last year, hundreds of thousands of 38 Degrees members worked with a coalition of other organisations to get these pesticides banned in Europe. But eBay UK haven’t caught up.

Any unwitting gardener in the UK can buy them easily from sellers in America – all it takes is a few clicks. And there’s no mention of the fact that they’re illegal to use in Europe!”

I have had a quick look and the illegal pesticides are not numerous. And in any case, how many British gardeners are honestly going to buy pesticides from overseas anyway? At tops, only a handful. So 38 degrees’s fervour does seem to be rather misplaced. But it’s the favoured tool of slacktivists and many won’t examine the case closely and just fire off an email.

eBay have commented on the story: “eBay enforces the EU Commission’s ban of pesticides containing Neonicotinoids in order to protect bees in the EU. Sellers are legally not allowed to offer such pesticides on ebay.co.uk and we have implemented measures accordingly. We proactively search for these products using a sophisticated system based on rules, and also take down items reported by our users who share our commitment to keeping eBay safe. We continually review our processes and procedures and will remove the small number of listings of concern identified.”

27 Responses

  1. It has been often said that if we lose the Bees that mankind will be extinct in 4 years. No doubt somebody, probably Cambridge_Blue will dispute this. But a very large proportion of what we eat relies on the Bee to pollinate it.

    I understand that in China there is a province where they have lost the Bees where to pollinate the fruit trees they have to climb the trees with small paint brushes to pollinate the flowers. Those who know me will know that I am certainly not built to go climbing up fruit trees. So as the Bees do the job so much better than I ever could do might I call upon those like northumbrian to take the threat to our Bee population seriously.

  2. I’m a 38 degrees supporter and I always read into as much of the case as possible, so, for me at least, the moniker of ‘slacktivist’ could be taken as offensive. However I appreciate that not all people who click to sign a petition are as meticulous as I am….

  3. it could be 38ths theme tune

    oh what a glorious thing it is to be!
    a healthy grown up busy busy bee

  4. I support the ’38 degrees’ position. It seems odd that you can ship to the EU (without any warnings or restrictions) items that are illegal to use there. There are a whole lot of things I am not allowed to sell on ebay – and many countries I am not allowed to ship to. We know it is possible to do something about this, if ebay cared enough (or rather ‘if we made them care enough’). Come on ebay, don’t hold back on this one!

  5. There may not be Container Ships full of this stuff being imported. The trouble is with much of this sort of stuff we just do not know how much is being imported. As an example there are very strict rules on fire-arms being imported into the UK. The trouble is its only the Legitimate imports that are monitored and controlled. The illegal imports at best there are only estimates,. So Drug Gangs and their arsenals of weapons are not controlled. Some turns up and is siezed often after crimes but probably the bulk is hidden away somewhere ready to be used at some time in the future.

    In regard to chemicals. We are rapidly approaching that time of year when across the county gardeners and others start to apply all sorts of things to the plants in their gardens, allotments, small holdings, and Farms. some is very nasty and can destroy such as the very important Bee populations.

    We really need effective controls to stop it being imported into the country and once in the country being used. A shrug really is not good enough. Or we could find that the Fruit Trees blossom is not pollinated and we have no crops of Apples, Pears, Cherries etc.

  6. Latest 38 degrees email received today:

    Fantastic news. The bee-killer pesticides are off eBay – AGAIN! [1]

    62,827 emails (!) from 38 Degrees members pushed eBay into taking action. They even told the 38 Degrees office that they had people in “making manual checks over the weekend” – which for a huge corporation based on fancy technology is extraordinary.

    Here’s a statement from eBay:

    “We are still improving our system to catch listings for this issue, and it will get better, but no system is perfect. We will immediately take action against items reported to us. It is our experience that sellers want to comply with the regulations, but often don’t know them so we will educate sellers about the rules too.

    Thank you for your passion.”

    Last week it looked as though eBay had acted. 48 hours later the pesticides were back up on their site. [2] But this time, it looks like eBay have actually done the work and fixed the problem.

    That’s not to say the banned pesticides will never go up for sale again. But eBay sound serious about fixing their systems – and now, eBay know that 38 Degrees members are watching.

    So, some good news. Until next time, eBay!

    Thanks for everything you do,

    Susannah, Maddy, Robin and the 38 Degrees team

    PS: The charity Buglife, who first found the illegal pesticides on eBay, are now talking to eBay about their pesticide policies. Vanessa Amaral Rogers from Buglife started the original petition to eBay on Campaigns by You, a platform which lets anyone start their own campaign. [3] That’s how 38 Degrees members first got involved. Here’s what Vanessa has to say:

    “After fantastic work from over 60,000 38 Degrees members, Buglife are extremely happy to report that neonicotinoid pesticides are no longer up for sale on eBay. We will be keeping a close eye on eBay to see whether they keep their promise and don’t allow the sale of these illegal bee-killing pesticides in the future – bees can breathe a sigh of relief for now.”

    Do you know of another corporate giant behaving badly? Is there something else you’d like to change? Click here to start your own campaign on Campaigns by You in minutes:
    https://you.38degrees.org.uk

    PPS: To help keep an eye on eBay, do the odd advanced search for the banned chemicals ‘imidacloprid’ and ‘thiamothoxam’ on eBay.co.uk, and check the box to search within ‘title and description’. If anything comes up, report it. eBay have said they’ll listen – so let’s test them!

    NOTES
    [1] 38 Degrees blog: eBay: killing our bees:
    https://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2014/03/26/ebay-killing-our-bees/
    More information about the pesticides here:
    Buglife: Pesticides poisoning our bees:
    https://www.buglife.org.uk/campaigns-and-our-work/campaigns/pesticides-poisoning-our-bees
    [2] 38 Degrees blog: eBay: no longer killing our bees:
    https://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2014/03/26/ebay-no-longer-killing-our-bees/
    38 Degrees blog: eBay: killing our bees AGAIN:
    https://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2014/03/28/ebay-killing-our-bees-again/
    [3] Campaigns by You: Get eBay to remove illegal toxic chemicals from their website:
    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/get-ebay-to-remove-toxic-illegal-chemicals-from-their-website

  7. There is no point arguing with ideologues or ‘clicktivists’ like this I’m afraid.
    38 degrees is a perfect expression of all that pent up ‘concern’ about one issue politics that exists in a complete moral and economic vacuum.
    Common sense, logic and pragmatism count for nothing against the online mob.
    Back to organic allotments all of you!

  8. I think it’s fair to say this thread is off topic.

    Please respect other readers by posting useful, businesslike comments.

    Thanks.

    Dan Wilson

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