An ongoing dispute among beekeepers in the UK has boiled over again.

Phil Chandler, an advocate of topbar hives and what he calls a more natural form of beekeeping, has been at odds with the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) for a number of reasons, most recently because of what he terms a “secret” deal between the BBKA and medications companies Bayer and Syngenta.

Now the association has struck back with an editorial by the former BBKA president which has taken Chandler to task for what he calls a churlish email that “condemned Syngenta… for announcing a major investment in research into the declining population of honeybees. It is better that Syngenta does not further research the possible role of its own pesticides. Others are independently.”

The president condemns Chandler and his organization, Friends of the Bees, as wanting “to deprive bees of the treatments and medicines they need to help them overcome the pests and pathogens that modern trade and transport have spread around.”

And further, “The exposed hatred in the email for the entire agrochemical industry shows that the core concerns of the writer are more political to the point of religion than apicultural.”

Chandler doesn’t taken the editorial silently:

Well, Glyn, it’s hard for me to show any respect for an industry that has done so much damage to the planet, its people and its animals. And religion is not something I suffer from.
I take it as a sign that we are having an impact on people’s thinking about bees in the context of our toxic agricultural system when someone with such a big axe to grind starts attacking us in public – and simultaneously exposes his own prejudices and ignorance.
Being savaged by a dead sheep comes to mind.
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