The US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a press release on Monday that details a tragedy many are unaware of: the monarch butterfly has been nearly wiped out. A major reason this is happening? A product from Monsanto called Roundup.
Roundup destroying milkweedFirst marketed in 1973, Roundup eradicates weeds and allows commercial crops to grow unmolested. The main ingredient is Glyphosate, and despite widespread use all over the world, its effect upon humans, other animals and the environment is still debated. Crops are genetically modified by Monsanto to become Roundup Ready; modified, they can survive Roundup — weeds cannot.Roundup is used heavily by agricultural producers, homeowners and governments. Due to such heavy use, Monsanto's Roundup is eradicating milkweed. The vast destruction of milkweed creates a problem for the monarch butterfly, because milkweed is its main food source.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife press release said there once were as many as one billion monarchs in the U.S. but that number has dwindled by 90 percent. No milkweed, no monarch.Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for the Center for Food Safety, finds the situation "shameful." "This report is a wake-up call," Kimbrell said."This iconic species is on the verge of extinction because of Monsanto's Roundup Ready crop system. To let the monarch butterfly die out in order to allow Monsanto to sell its signature herbicide for a few more years is simply shameful.”Fight to save Monarch butterflyThe press release from the Wildlife Service indicates they are not going to allow the monarch to become extinct. The Service is partnering with the National Wildlife Federation in a new funding initiative and in launching a Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund.A website has been created for the public to learn about the plight of the monarch and how they can help.The Service is immediately providing $2 million in funding and intends to get groups and individuals to help with planting native milkweed and nectar plants, again giving monarchs a food source in areas they have dwindled in or disappeared from. Land has been targeted on which to again grow the plants the monarch butterfly needs.
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