February 27, 2007

You'd Be Sad and Cross, Too

the honeybee is sad and cross
and wicked as a weasel
and when he perches on you boss
he leaves a little measle

--archy the cockroach, according to don marquis

Really they are:
In 24 states throughout the country, beekeepers have gone through similar shocks as their bees have been disappearing inexplicably at an alarming rate, threatening not only their livelihoods but also the production of numerous crops, including California almonds, one of the nation’s most profitable.
As with barnyard animals like pigs and chickens, agribusiness has led to the creation of factories with organic parts. The bees are trucked from coast to coast, put to work earlier and earlier in the season, and it's getting harder to find places where the bees on their days off are permitted to forage.

It's no mystery, although the details are unknown. It's classic monoculture. Rather than local varieties of bees that adapt to the ecosystem, we are dealing with masses of bees, presumably genetically alike, on an industrial scale, fed strange concoctions developed in laboratories, and subject to maximal exploitation. Cost-effective enough when it works to drive the small guys out of the business, and fantastically vulnerable.

Old MacDonald is b.k., ee-i-ee-i-o, his chickens live in giant avian concentration camps. If one sneezes, they slaughter them all. Might be bird flu.

No wonder the bees have flown the coop. Wouldn't you, if you could?

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