'Roundup isn't a monster or poison'- tillage farmers defend controversial weed killer
Tillage farmers have defended controversial weed killer glyphosate which they say is wrongly being portrayed as a “monster” and “poison” by people who don’t understand agriculture and food production.
On Monday a Californian jury awarded more than €2bn to a couple who claimed Bayer AG’s glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused their cancer.
This was the third and largest US verdict to date against the company, despite a recent statement from the US Environmental Protection Agency that said that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.
France has also signalled that it will phase out the herbicide by the end of 2020.
However, Irish tillage farmers have hit out at claims that the weedkiller should be banned and at ‘mistruths’ about the rate and amount of the product they use.
Clive Carter who is a farmer from Ratheniska, Co Laois told the Farming Independent that US court case verdicts are often based on “emotion rather than science” and stated that as long as the EU says glyphosate is safe to use he will continue to use it at pre sowing stage.
“Farmers are professional users and have all been trained. Farmers are an easy target in this debate but it’s proven by the EU that there’s no carcinogenic link. Smoking is linked to cancer but it is still legal. It’s being portrayed as a monster by people who don’t understand farming,” said Mr Carter.
Fellow Ratheniska farmer Colm Fingleton added that only a small amount of glyphosate is used by Irish farmers at pre-sowing stage and said that it would be very damaging to the sector if usage of the weedkiller was prohibited in the future.