For several years, scientific mediation and popularization have been areas very much sought after by pesticide manufacturers, eager to communicate on the controversies generated by their products. The Fête de la science, including the 30e edition takes place from 1is to October 11, offers a new illustration.
The event, organized under the supervision of the public authorities, brings together a series of events, conferences, exhibitions, round tables and workshops related to science and scientific culture. It is in this context that a conference is being held on Saturday 2 October in Lyon with “Fun and scientific activities” on the honey bee titled “Hey, does a bee sting?” Common ideas and strong ideas, what to remember from interactions between bees and humans ”.
The first version of the program, published on the official website of the Fête de la science, announces a one-hour conference where, “At the time of debates on biodiversity, we will question ourselves on [les] interrelations [des abeilles] with the man, and we will try to make you think outside the box and to break some received ideas on these fascinating insects ”. The speaker, Sandrine Leblond, is presented as “Agricultural engineer and beekeeper for more than twenty years”. Without mentioning that the person concerned is also an employee of BASF Agro, one of the European champions in agrochemicals, where she occupies the function of “Biodiversity manager” since 2003.
Contacted by The world, Mme Leblond refers to his employer, BASF, who claims to have not been informed of the participation of his employee in the demonstration, and to have no connection with it. “Our employees are free to participate in cultural, sports or other activities, without referring to the company”, explains BASF.
Undeclared conflicts of interest
“The person participating in this event has clearly indicated the company for which he works, but the name of this company was not mentioned in the program because the person intervenes in his personal name as an expert (she is a beekeeper and agricultural engineer), unrelated to the company for which she works ”, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research said. However, following questions from the World, the ministry adds that “For a complete information of all, the name of the company in question will be specified in the program”.
Three days before the event, the Science Festival website contained two pages announcing the same event: one specifying the speaker ‘s membership in BASF, the other without this mention.
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