Common Sense On Rat Poison

22 September 2010
SNP Member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Mr Alyn Smith has today (Wednesday) hailed a vote in Strasbourg on poisons in our environment as a step forward for common sense - common sense sadly lacking from the wilder fringes of the UK MEPs.
 The Parliament approved the Klass Report by a majority of 553 votes to 22, with the SNP abstaining on the final vote along with 83 other MEPs who could not support the final text on the grounds that it could have gone still further in implementing tougher, safer, rules on the use of chemicals in day to day life.
The committee stage of the vote had seen particularly irresponsible scaremongering from some MEPs, with claims that 'the EU wants to ban rat poison' being shown up as nonsense by the substance of the actual vote.  One amendment which sought to increase protection over one specific rat poison was narrowly defeated, with Smith voting in favour.
Smith said:
"This was a solid enough vote on a hugely technical body of law which will go a fair way towards striking a sensible balance on limiting dangerous chemicals in our day to day lives, while still allowing us to go about our daily business and, crucially, prodding the chemicals industry to come up with better, cheaper, safer alternatives.
"But it could have gone a bit further, so while there is much in the package I admire, my group could not quite bring ourselves to support it, so abstained in the final vote, particularly over concerns that the slightly muddled priorities will create more work for the European Chemicals Agency in deciphering what the Parliament actually wanted.
"However, most pleasing is that this puts to bed the nonsense being put about by some that the EU was somehow going to ban rat poison, leading to biblical plagues on all our houses.  The story was daft to begin with, was sorted out at Committee stage so by this final stage all they could do was to misrepresent a perfectly workable amendment concerning a particularly nasty chemical.  I voted for tougher standards, and while they were defeated, the package as a whole still strikes a sensible enough balance.  Had they been accepted, and I'm even publishing the amendment to prove it, they would categorically, in black and white, not have banned rat poison.
"It is for those who actively sought to mislead and misinform to examine their own consciences."