Alarming number of Danish farmers caught using illegal pesticides

Enhedslisten calls for higher fines and other sanctions to curb the “disturbing trend”

One in six Danish farmers inspected by the AgriFish Agency in 2014 were found storing or using illegal pesticides, reports DR.

In 70 cases of the total 665, farmers got away with just a warning, but some 46 offenders were reported to the police and received a fine.

READ MORE: More fertiliser heading to Denmark’s fields

Systematic violation
“Unfortunately, we’re not just talking about a one-off blunder but about a systematic violation,” Ella Maria Bisschop-Larsen, the president of the Danish Society for Nature Conservation, told DR.

“And it’s serious. In many of the cases we’re talking about neurotoxins, which can have very damaging effects on the development of both humans and animals.”

READ MORE: Government looking into high heavy metal concentrations in Danish agriculture

Inadequate controls
The environment and food minister, Eva Kjer Hansen, has requested illegal pesticides are taken off the shelves, noting one of the reasons the number of offenders was so high is due to improved inspections in the area.

The Society for Nature Conservation believes the opposite is true as only 665 of the country’s 24,500 farmers and gardeners were inspected, which corresponds to about 2.7 percent of the total.

READ MORE: Growing number of Danish farmers interested in converting to organic farming

More sanctions
Enhedslisten has called for increased fines and asked the ministry to come up with other sanctions to curb the “disturbing trend”.

“It could be that farmers would be denied the right to farm, if they repeatedly violate the law,” Maria Reumert Gjerding, the environmental rapporteur in Enhedslisten, told DR.