Scotts/Miracle Grow Fined 4.5 Million for Toxic Bird Seed

Well, it’s kind of old news by now but I wanted to include some info about it here, not only for my own record-keeping purposes but also to let anyone who hasn’t heard about this know.

I first read about the National Wildlife Federation’s plan to partner up with Scotts-Miracle Gro on Margaret Roach’s blog, A Way To Garden, in late January.

Naturally, (no pun intended – really) gardeners across the country were up in arms (to put it mildly) at the thought of the NWF, who claims to  “protect and defend wildlife and the wild places they need to survive” getting into bed with the toxic nightmare that is Scotts.

Petitions were circled and gardeners and environmentalists helped get the word out.

The idea that the NWF, of all organizations, could team up with the corporation behind Miracle Gro and other harmful “lawn care products” just felt like a total sellout and a complete betrayal on NWF’s part.  These two companies couldn’t be more diametrically opposed in their ethics, missions, and purposes.  How the NWF could even consider this is beyond me.  It really frightens me to think that so many things seem to go the way of big business at the risk of sacrificing the standards and ideals they supposedly uphold!

Many garden bloggers proudly display the “Certified Wildlife Habitat” badge sponsored by the NWF.  These folks have put thought and effort into creating a backyard habitat that protects, nurtures, and provides for wildlife.  Several of them vowed to remove those badges and signs should this partnership go through.

A few days ago I learned from Dave over at Our Happy Acres that the deal is off…and WHY.

It turns out Scotts was just fined 4.5 million buckaroos for selling chemically treated bird seed – KNOWINGLY selling toxic bird seed, that is.

According to this article, Scotts has “pleaded guilty to charges that it sold 73 MILLION UNITS of tainted bird seed from 2005 to 2008. According to an article in today’s Columbus, Ohio, newspaper, the company continued to sell the bird seed “despite warnings in the summer and fall of 2007 from a pesticide chemist and an ornithologist, both of whom worked for the company.”

Horrific.  Utterly horrific.    The article goes on to say:  “The company, many folks believe, must have known this ruling in federal court was coming down for several months. The timing of the sponsorship with the National Wildlife Federation, announced by NWF on Jan. 18, was clearly designed to draw attention away from what is believed to be the largest fine ever levied on a pesticide company.”

I’m glad they’ve been called out on it, and I’m glad the deal with NWF is off.  It’s just truly a shame this had to happen at all…chemically treated food for wildlife…the NWF considering such a partnership in the first place…I’m hoping they’ll get such an earful about this from their membership / the public that they’ll keep their priorities straight and forget the idea of teaming up with the likes of Scotts anytime in the future.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to create safe habitats for all sorts of wildlife in your own backyard, Donna over at Garden’s Eye View has included some information and helpful links mid-way through this post.

As always, spread the word.  A lot of gardeners out there might be aware of the harmful “gardening” products that Scotts makes, but there are plenty of people who don’t garden but feed birds and other wildlife that should know about them!