Recent media attention around the science which reviewed a massive decline in insect numbers across Europe and North America – suggests that, people do appreciate that this is a worrying trend, people are interested. Everybody can see why on some (if not every level) that insects are important.
Is it then not surprising that the regulations around testing the wider environmental effects of some pharmaceutical treatments of livestock seem ‘loose’ at best, when such veterinary pharmaceuticals may have direct impacts on a range of important insects, especially those associated with dung. Well that assumes we have cause to even think about it. On the surface, most of us really don’t tend to consider this sort of thing when we glance a nice field of sheep from the car, or tuck in to a juicy hamburger.
As a fairly seasoned conservation scientist with RSPB, a few years ago I did have cause to think about the relationship between livestock pharmaceutical treatments and their potential effects on insects and I was more than surprised at what we found in a paper published today in Scientific Reports.