February 9, 2014 (Washington, DC)--Center for food Safety today commented on the announcement by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) of a new campaign aimed at saving the declining monarch butterfly. The campaign allocates $3.2 million in resources for monarch population revival. This is significantly less than what would be invested were the monarch to be protected under the Endangered Species Act, as was requested by Center for Food Safety and Center for Biological Diversity this past August. Last week, Center for Food Safety released a comprehensive report detailing the significant impact recent agricultural practices have had on monarch habitat, which is not addressed by FWS’s campaign.
“While funding for efforts to restore milkweed habitat are essential to the monarch butterfly's survival, without addressing the eradication of milkweed within agricultural fields, monarch populations will not rebound to resilient, healthy levels. Research has shown that monarch butterflies lay up to four times more eggs on milkweed within agricultural fields, and unfortunately, this vital breeding habitat has been destroyed by herbicides used in conjunction with genetically engineered crops,” said Larissa Walker, Pollinator Campaign Director at Center for Food Safety.
“Listing monarch butterflies as threatened under the Endangered Species Act is essential to their survival because it would provide stronger protections for the butterflies and their habitat, lead to a federal recovery plan for key government agencies, and secure adequate funding levels for monarch conservation efforts nationwide,” added Walker.