Bumblebees can be classified as ‘fish’ under California conservation law, court says
(NaturalNews) California is set to recognize that the world’s largest insect and its bee cousins are far more like vertebrate vertebrates than previously thought. California has long been known as the land of the “bee,” with its legendary abundance and diverse ecosystem. But the state’s most famous native insect, the bumblebee, is also now being recognized as a far more complex species than previously thought — thanks to decades of hard-fought battles for conservation in courts throughout the country.
Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California finally struck down the pesticide label law, commonly referred to as “Bumblebee Protection Act,” under which the federal government had attempted to prevent the labeling of pesticides that the agency determined endangered the bees. Although the pesticide label law went down for good last month, a ruling on the federal government’s attempt to block the labeling of chemicals has not yet been issued, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is fighting the case all over again.
The legal fight was the culmination of a decades-long dispute between the U.S. government, including the EPA, and American Native Beekeepers Association (ANIBA) over the labeling of pesticides that are suspected to be toxic to bumblebees. “In the decades since they were recognized as a separate species, we had never seen a case where courts have actually considered the science that has been generated as to what the biological effects of bees in different types of habitats are,” said Jennifer Vian, senior director of bees and pollinators at The Nature Conservancy.
The group’s recent efforts to get the legal system to recognize that the world’s largest bee — known in North America as the honeybee — is in fact in fact a bumblebee, which is actually a larger species than honeybees — was one of its most important victories in recent years. The group succeeded in getting the EPA to recognize the difference by labeling honeybees as a subspecies of the bumblebee.
“This case was about taking away the word honeybees and replacing it with bumblebees and the fact is that not only are they bees, they