Scotts Fined for Knowingly Selling Toxic Bird Seed


Wow, Scotts is in the news again, with this announcement of their $4.5 milion fine for Freebies2deals-songbird-300x300selling pesticide-laden bird food, and falsifying their EPA paperwork about it, no less.

So, back to the hot topic of Scotts being the National Wildlife Federation's new best friend, here's the NWF's statement defending their relationship with Scotts, whose "commitment to sustainability" they tout.

And here's the NWF's FAQ about the partnership, which contains this timely quote:

NWF becomes a key partner in Scotts' Save the Songbird campaign, a nationwide cause marketing program that addresses the alarming decline in songbird populations which kicked off in New Orleans on January 26, 2012. Over the last several decades, songbird populations have declined at an alarming rate–some by as much as 80 percent in the last 40 years due to lack of sufficient habitats and nutritious food sources. We know our supporters would agree, this is a major threat to wildlife. NWF and Scotts share a concern about the decline in songbird populations. We believe backyard birding offers millions of Americans an opportunity to learn about songbirds and how to protect them. Part of this partnership will include a $1 donation per bag sold of Songbirds Selections NutriThrive bird food to the National Wildlife Federation.

It's all unfrickingbelievable.  Since this latest announcement, the NWF has taken to removing some of the angrier comments on their Facebook wall, claiming the comments violate their policies.  I'm hardly the first to suggest that removing their entire leadership would be a more appropriate move – in conjunction with severing their ties with Scotts, of course.  Doing just the latter and leaving the organization essentially  unchanged isn't enough.


  1. Call me crazy, but I will bet you a nickel that Scotts knew this was coming and rushed to greenwash to try and ameliorate some of the PR blow of killing songbirds.

    I would suggest that repeated but politely worded (so they can’t be pulled) calls for NWF comment on their new partner might be in order…

  2. Actually the lying to the EPA was not about the selling of bird seed they knew perfectly well was laced with poison. It was about other chemical products. It just seems to have been bundled in the same court case.

    You could say the NWF just shot itself in the foot, but it is more realistic to say they just stepped on a land mine. I think they’re toast.

  3. Also, Scott’s is linked to the giant Monsanto (from Scott’s website: “The Company’s principal consumer brands in North America are Scotts®, Miracle-Gro®, and Ortho®. In addition, Scotts is Monsanto’s exclusive agent for the marketing and distribution of consumer Roundup®.

    Our International consumer brands include Miracle-Gro®, Evergreen®, Fertiligene®, Celaflor®, KB®, Substral®, Weedol® and Pathclear®. In addition, Scotts is Monsanto’s exclusive agent for the international marketing and distribution of consumer Roundup®. “)


  4. Given what Monsanto has done in the last 60 years (pollution of major water sources, poor post-production practices that lead to acid rain, as well as lying, deception, weaselling (no offense to the weasel meant), strong-arming competition and opponents (Whole Foods and a few others caved in to demands they cease their opposition to GM foods (caveat: I’m a bit shaky on the details), and the like), huge political contributions coming this year due to the Citizens United ruling–I think the Oil, Gas & Coal companies and ChemAgras listened to the same shady advisor–I wouldn’t trust them or anyone with whom they associate to do anything vaguely resembling “the right thing”.

  5. Tragic for the birds, for all those who admired the NWF (myself included), and everyone else who has been duped along the way. And it’s a damn shame that we have to worry about buying safe bird seed too!

    Thanks for reporting on this, Garden Rant.

  6. “Demonstrated Progress. We aren’t interested in greenwashing and neither is Scotts. So we took a close look at Scotts’ business practices and found a company making strides to develop alternatives to harmful chemicals and investing in cleaner, more organically based products.”

    How can THAT be in their defense statement?????????????? A-holes.

  7. How many folks have tried Wild Birds Unlimited for bird feeding supplies? They have a great selection of high quality stuff. Maybe not the cheapest, but the folks who work there are really into birds and know more than enough to answer questions and give advice. And there’s no danger of buying poisoned bird seed.

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