Whilst cases concerning negligence and nuisance take up a large section of the book, Noel Sweeney also takes a searching look at the law in relation to a beekeeper’s employees and matters concerning beekeeping as a business. Included, too, are the beekeeper’s responsibilities to the laws relating to control of bee diseases, honey standards and labelling, and the importation of bees….
…It is unique in what it provides for the reader and will undoubtedly become a classic on the subject of bees and the law. It is an understatement to say that the book should be in the hands of all beekeepers. It should be thoroughly read and digested so that the owners of bees will be fully aware of their responsibilities and, if litigation should ever occur, the difficulties which might arise. It is not a difficult read as regards its structure and use of language, but it nevertheless needs much concentration on the part of the reader. The descriptions of incidents, whilst traumatic for those involved, show at times the absurdity of human behaviour and occasionally, a touch of incredulity as well as humour.
The Editor, The Beekeepers Quarterly
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Unless we have been seriously stung, we seem to love bees. They wear stripy fur coats, emit a sound evocative of summer in a garden, live in a structured and interesting community and most of us know that they perform an indispensable role pollinating much of the food we need. If we eat honey – a commodity whose use dates back to ancient civilisations – the creation of that sweet product will be a major factor in our appreciation of these industrious beings……
….There must be very many titles on the market on the subject of beekeeping.
Bees-at-Law, which encompasses so many spheres in which the human animal and the bee try to co-exist, could be unique, and it is highly recommended.
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Just when you thought there was nothing new under the sun, along comes ‘bees-at-law’ by Noël Sweeney.
In each chapter or case in this instance, the humble bumble bee is at the heart of each court case. Fact proves to be profoundly stranger than fiction as each case unfolds and Sweeney delivers a feel good insight into the workings of both the legal system and the honey bee. I was hooked by the clear layout of each case. I was intrigued, entertained and shocked by the claims and counter claims of the humans in court.
The Bees are the clear winners in this book, having been given a voice by proxy, at a time when their numbers are under serious threat. They have had their day in court and come out on top.”
Environmental craftsman & peripatetic teacher
17 May 2017
It is told in such an agile, almost filmic way that the non-specialised reader is mesmerised by the narrative atmosphere and so have to remind themselves at all times that what they are reading is not fiction.
We have a case, that of O’Gorman and O’Gorman, placed under the magnifying glass of different judges in the trial and the appeal. Almost as a Proustian account, the author makes us enter a kaleidoscope that is threshing the different lights and nuances around the wanderings and hardships of the human and non-human protagonists.”
Dr Helena Golanó
22 May 2017
I was surprised and intrigued by the content of the Law reports concerning bees which I have just read.
The surprise was due to the realisation that, knowing little or nothing about bees, I had supposed that there would not be any law reports concerning bees. Further, I realised also how fundamentally important to our life on this planet is the existence of bees and yet, as far as I was aware, they had never previously been afforded any attention by the Law Courts or legal documents.
The intrigue I felt was concerning the status which the Law does or should afford to bees as a species and likewise their owners or keepers. There is no doubt that without bees, fruit and vegetables would barely exist. Without the humble bee our life would be so bland. It was Sampson who noted that, “out of the strong came forth sweetness”.
The cases which have been reported do seem to forewarn readers that those who keep bees in hives on their property do so at their own peril.
Perhaps this is akin to the masterful judgement in the case of Rylands v. Fletcher which stated that ” anyone who brings onto their land and stores and keeps there anything which, if it escapes, could do damage is prima facie liable “. Perhaps this quotation should be the zizz word for any volume on the subject of bees.