Threat to east environment
WEST European farmers investing in the transition economies of the east pose a serious threat to what, in many cases, is a unique environmental resource.
"There is a wonderful degree of western arrogance that everything we export will be beneficial," Graham Wynne, chief executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, told a London conference this week.
But the track record in the west was poor. For example, the past 25 years had seen an 89% decline in tree sparrows in the UK and a 73% fall in the number of song thrushes. Modern farming was mainly to blame.
What was happening to bird populations was symptomatic of what was happening in the wider environment, added Mr Wynne. *