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German beekeepers stage sticky protest on ministry steps

BERLIN (AP) — Two beekeepers staged a sticky protest Wednesday outside Germany’s Agriculture Ministry against the continued use of a controversial herbicide.

Sebastian and Camille Seusing poured a bucket of honey onto the ministry steps, saying it was contaminated with high levels of glyphosate that was sprayed onto fields near their apiculture business in Brandenburg state, which surrounds Berlin.

The couple say they have been forced to destroy 4 tons of honey and lost about 60,000 euros ($69,000), endangering their livelihoods.

The Seusings called on Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner to do more to prevent glyphosate from being used on flowering plants.

Environmentalists have demanded an immediate ban on the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Bayer’s weed killer Roundup, over concerns it is leading to a decline of bees and other insects, and might be harmful to human health.

Bayer, which bought U.S. rival Monsanto in 2018, has faced several over Roundup in the United States.

The German government has agreed to begin phasing out the weedkiller this year and to ban all use by the end of 2023.

But farmers say glyphosate is an important tool in fighting crop-damaging weeds and that alternatives would be costly, leading to higher prices for consumers.

Last year, some 10,000 farmers brought the German capital to a standstill during against what they say are burdensome new environmental regulations.

Associated Press