Is This The End Of The Monarch Butterfly?

What Is Killing Monarch Butterflies?

While most people can recognize the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), they are unfamiliar with its diet. The monarch caterpillar can only eat the leaves of a milkweed plant. If there is no milkweed, the caterpillars will have nothing to eat and obviously there will be no monarch butterflies.

Monarch caterpillars can only eat milkweed.

Monarch caterpillars can only eat milkweed.

According to the petition filed by the Center For Food Safety: 

“The monarch butterfly population in North America has been shrinking at an alarming rate, largely because a significant portion of their breeding habitat is being destroyed by herbicides used on genetically engineered (GE) crops. Milkweeds are critical to the monarch’s survival because they are the only plants monarch larvae will eat, but they are being decimated by the rampant use of Roundup (glyphosate) used in conjunction with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready™ GE crops.

Monarchs need urgent, comprehensive protection – the kind of protection only a listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) can provide. I urge you to grant Center for Food Safety’s joint petition to list the monarch butterfly as threatened under the ESA.”

Click the link to view the full document:


The Making of a Monarch

Here is a short video created to teach children about the transformation of a monarch butterfly. Children face a grim reality that the world may not have monarch butterflies by the time they reach adulthood. To watch this brief, educational video, please click the link below.

Industrial Use Of Milkweed  

Milkweed produces follicles which look like little pods and contain soft floss (hair-like fibers) which protect their seeds. The milkweed floss has tremendous insulation properties and was grown commercially as stuffing for pillows. During World War II, the follicles from the milkweed were harvested when there was a shortage of kapok (also known as Java cotton, ceiba, or Java kapok).

A milkweed follicle releasing its seeds.

A milkweed follicle releasing its seeds.

Today, in commercial agriculture where transgenic crops are grown annually worldwide, milkweed is often considered to be a weed; an invasive one at that. Glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup®, is very effective for killing the milkweed plant.

Ladybug on milkweed follicle.

Did you know that milkweeds are an important nectar source for bees and a variety of other herbivorous insects?

Help Protect The Monarch Butterfly!

What can you do to help the declining monarch population? Here are a few things you can do:

1. Help the Center For Food Safety protect monarchs under the Endangered Species Act by clicking the link below to sign the petition.

Sign the petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in support of protecting monarchs under the ESA

Please help the Center For Food Safety protect the monarch butterfly!

2. Do not use garden chemicals that contain glyphosate!

3. If you have a designated area for a butterfly garden, plant milkweed in the back part of your garden or in a container. CAUTION: milkweed is toxic to some animals, so please consult with your veterinarian prior.

4. Knowledge is power! Educate your friends, family and colleagues about the monarch decline!

Listen To The Interview

Listen to this segment of The Organic View Radio Show as host, June Stoyer talks to, Bill Freese from the Center For Food Safety to discuss startling new information about the rapidly declining Monarch butterfly population in the United States. To listen to the interview, press the play button on the video below.

Meet Bill Freese

Bill joined Center For Food Safety in 2006 as science policy analyst. In his six years with the Safer Food – Safer Farms campaign at Friends of the Earth, he authored numerous reports and comments to government agencies concerning the science and regulation of genetically engineered crops. Bill played a key role in the discovery of unapproved StarLink corn in the food supply in 2000-2001. His comprehensive report on genetically engineered (GE) pharmaceutical crops in 2002 helped initiate public debate on “biopharming.”

Bill Freese

Bill Freese

In 2004,  he teamed up with Salk Institute cell biologist David Schubert to write a comprehensive, peer-reviewed scientific critique of the regulation and safety testing of GE foods. Bill has given numerous public presentations on agricultural biotechnology to State Department officers, international regulatory officials, farm groups and the general public. More recent work involves assessments of the failed promise of GE crops, industrial biotechnology, and cost-effective alternatives to genetic engineering.

12 thoughts on “Is This The End Of The Monarch Butterfly?

  1. Every person with a green thumb has noticed the disappearance of our bees and our butterflies. This is such sad news. I hope CFFS can turn things around.

  2. It is profoundly disturbing that the monarch butterfly must now be added to the endangered species list. When will human babies be added to the endangered species list? Or is that what they are waiting for. Thanks for the information. I will pass around the petition.

  3. The Monarch is the King of all butterflies and must be protected! This reminds me of the lion population declining to poaching. So sad!

  4. Very interesting read about the use of milkweeds in WW2. I will happily support the Center For Food Safety’s efforts. Thanks, June and Bill! Good job!

  5. I realize that milkweeds are toxic to cattle but isn’t there another alternative? It is as though we are picking one species over the other.

  6. My neighbor used Roundup on his lawn. I had him listen to the inteview. He is also an avid gardener and was horrified. Thanks for doing this. It has been bothering me that he uses chemicals and it took this to get him to stop. I also have plants that I grow to attract the bees and butterflies. Perhaps if more people do the same, we can save them!

  7. There should be another image directed to the EPA that says “Got A Clue?” They need to stop this revolving door and do their job. The USA is supposed to be a world leader. How can we be a leader if we are killing everything in site for the sake of profit? Things need to change and soon!

  8. Remember the praying mantis? It is endangered too. So many species are dying but yet we keep dumping more and more chemicals. Great interview with Bill Freese, June. Love your photos. I’ve been following you on Pinterest now too!

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