During late August, the Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety joined in an effort to petition the US Fish & Wildlife Service in order to classify the Monarch butterfly as endangered. According to the San Jose Mercury News, among some of the claims made, the petition alleges that the butterfly’s population has gone down in past 20 years and that their habitat has decreased considerably.
Dr. Lincoln Brower who is a Distinguished Service Professor of Zoology Emeritus at the University of Florida and Research Professor of Biology at Sweet Briar College. Brower is a party in the petition effort and has been studying the Monarch butterfly since 1977. He states that the it is genetically modified crops that have contributed mostly to the Monarch’s population decline. Apparently, Brower and environmentalist groups state Monarchs are born in the midwestern United States. It is there that they are endangered allegedly due to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide that is an effective killer of milkweed which is the butterfly’s primary source of food.
The Mercury News states the US Fish & Wildlife Service seemed receptive and will conduct a one year review of the Monarch butterfly. Its not like efforts weren’t tried to try to help revive the species. In response to the low populations of Monarchs people everywhere were planting milkweed in their gardens in hopes of being able to provide food for it. However, it was discovered the wrong kind of milkweed was being used. This, in turn, resulted in the likelihood of the butterflies being infected with a deadly parasite.
However, I have my doubts and suspicions about this effort including its allegations overall. For example, back in October of last year the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported quoting the World Wildlife Fund that the Monarch butterfly population was on the rebound. Thanks to reversals in deforestation in Mexico (where the butterfly migrates for hibernation), two to three times the amount of Monarch butterflies were expected than were seen last year. A spokesperson for the WWF stated that data from the US indicated a light recovery with expectations of double or triple the Monarch butterfly population.
Taking into account the CBC report and the study quoted by the World Wildlife Fund, this campaign to classify the Monarch butterfly is nothing more than an anti-GMO and anti-pesticide effort all rolled into one. Another effort on the part of environmentalists with a well-credentialled scientific ally to not only shrink the human food supply but also to restrict the use of pesticides so food crops can be easily attacked by insects. This, in turn, ensures the quick demise of much of the food crops we need in order to live. Giving the Monarch butterfly endangered species protections would give Gang Green the ammunition to publicly claim the need to ban pesticides and GMO cultivation.