Africa’s lions poisoned by pesticide

I was horrified by last week’s CBS’ Sixty Minutes report (see video below) about lions in Kenya being poisoned by cattle herders and ranchers using the insecticide Furadan.

Furadan is currently manufactured by US chemical company FMC for crop protection. FMC said it has stopped all Furadan sales in Kenya since May last year but reporters from 60 minutes said they can still find Furadan in several Kenyan Agro-Vets stores shelves. The show said Furadan are being sold in neighboring countries (where lions are also disappearing).

In its granular form, Furadan is banned in Europe and the United Kingdom while it is severely restricted in the United States. According to 60 minutes, just a tiny amount from a $2 bottle like this one is enough to kill an entire pride of lions.

“Furadan, even when used as directed, is estimated to have wiped out millions of birds in the United States. That’s one of the reasons why the US Environmental Protection Agency restricted its use and wants to ban it entirely.” – CBS 60 minutes

In Africa, Furadan is perfectly legal when used as a pesticide. FMC said it teaches its distributors and users how to use their product properly.

That might be true but it is impossible for the company to account for each and every Kenyan farmers who use the pesticide to eliminate the threat to their livelihood. A ban for the product, stopping its production and developing an alternative pesticide that are not toxic to humans, animals and the environment are the only way that can prevent the killing of these magnificent creatures.

I am sometimes in agreement with chemical companies when a ban of a certain product when there is no scientific based to it is idiotic. But in this case, I am all for banning this pesticide if it means preventing the extinction of a great species.



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