Marisa and Renato with their Campaign HQ. 'Basta Veleni' means 'Enough Poison!"
This is the case of the Italian couple Marisa Valente and Renato Bologna, who have declared a 'Hunger Strike' since July 4th in the City of Turin. They have been living in their camper van outside the Italian Minsitry of Agriculture since July 4th and have vowed to only eat and drink what a bee does. They have allowed themselves three dessert spoons of honey and pollen per day -plus a little fruit juice. They have lost a considerable amount of weight in 28 days.
They created an Apitherapy bee-business in the late 1980s on the borders of a National Park in the Asti region of Italy. At that time the area was 'a paradise for bees'; for ten years they made a good living selling: honey, pollen and Royal Jelly. Then, in the late 1990s, the grape-growers of this wine region began using Neonicotinoids - specifically Thiomethoxam which is sprayed onto vines.
Their bees began to die as they lost 20% of their hives in the winter 0f 2003, then 40% in 2004, 50% in 2007 and finally 80% in 2010. With their income falling to zero, and unable to fulfill their customr orders, they stand to lose their business, their income, their home and their land - so they decided to go on Hunger Strike outside the Italian Ministry of Agriculture in Turin. They are demanding a complete ban on all systemic neonicotinoid pesticides which are exterminating bees, butterflies and all pollinating insects, world-wide. They had their bees and hive products analysed in both the govt bee-lab and in a private lab. Both analyses found Thiamethoxam on living bees, in bee bread and in bee-larvae; they could not find thiamethoxam in the dead bees - which echoes Jeff Pettis's experiments in America - so it was very conclusive what was killing their colonies.
They are living in their camper van and they have only eaten three spoons of honey and pollen - and drank fruit juice - for the last 28 days. It is a fantastic story - someone should cover it for TV and the local press wherever you are. These are BRAVE, courageous people and they have given up their jobs, their livelihood and their reputation in this 'last-ditch' defence of their business - because they have nowhere else to go.
you can visit their website at: http://www.rfb.it/bastaveleni/chisiamo.htm and sign a support petition.
They are also contactable via SKYPE at: marisa.renato1 . . they speak basic English, fluent Italian and French.
I am trying to get journalists to take up this story in Europe and the USA - since it involves two ordinary beekeepers fighting to save their business, their home and their income, which has been destroyed by pesticide corporations - who are seemingly free to release whatever deadly poisons they wish into our environment, without regard for the consequences.
I would be grateful if you would forward this to any Italian friends or any contacts in beekeeping the food and environmental sphere.
There is a briefing article which is an English translation of their web page, which can be downloaded from Google here: https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=17sGXzHzXTN0odMfWTB2---wyAEPbTs8OwQdJAdc8NeRFr7VFomBcZ-u4_-qu&hl=en_US&invite=CNPfmocG
Please download and distribute to any beekeepers and organisations you have - and encourage people to email them, Skype them and send them a few dollars if you can spare it. They have had no income since starting their hunger strike.