EWR comment: The many who have tracked and even opposed the 1080 operations (moving along in NZ for over 50 years) know there is more to this than meets the eye. Particularly in latter years as increasingly the rules have expanded to allowing dispersion into waterways. How can this not affect human health? Look what happened in Auckland. On a grand scale we have also seen the gradual destruction of the very species the narrative has told us were being protected. Slowly but surely the wild food supplies are being severely reduced, and what is left is being rendered too risky to eat. This is not about conservation according to the UN’s supposed biodiversity goals contained in the Agenda 21 documentation. It is all part of the New World Order reset goals, world control of all resources including food. Note Aussie recently proclaimed they are now in the said NWO. So here we have Australia spreading 1080 into their waterways. Catchment waterways for Sydney. The article is from MSN. (Thanks to Jordan for this link).
The New South Wales government is preparing to drop poisoned animal baits into a part of Sydney’s main drinking water catchment considered so important, public access is restricted.
The move has angered a conservation scientist who says mass aerial baiting in the special area contradicts those protections.
However, the NSW government says the baiting is necessary to protect vulnerable native animals affected by the devastating bushfires of 2019/20.
The meat baits, which are laced with the poison known as 1080, are designed to kill foxes and dingoes — also referred to as wild dogs. They will be dropped across parts of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, including within the Warragamba Special Area.
Special areas act as buffers of pristine bushland upstream of dams and are designed to protect water quality. In the Warragamba catchment, “schedule 1 areas” are the most heavily protected and public entry is banned.
They are surrounded by “schedule 2 areas”, where entry is restricted and activities such as bike riding and motorboat use are prohibited.
But according to internal government documents, seen by the ABC’s Specialist Reporting Team, poisoned baits were airdropped in schedule 2 areas in June and July 2020, with more baits to be dropped this month.
Originally, the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) also wanted to bait schedule 1 areas, but it abandoned the idea over concerns about how the public would react.
“We anticipate that there is a risk of community concern regarding the perceive (sic) risks of using 1080 in Sydney’s drinking supply,” the NPWS noted in an email.
“For these reasons we are proposing we don’t bait in Schedule 1 lands. If we determine a way to manage that risk down the track, then we can reconsider.”
WaterNSW told the ABC it considered the baiting a “very low” risk to the catchment, thanks to other mitigating factors.
“These factors … include restricting baiting to areas away from waterways, the high rate of decay of ‘1080’ in the environment, and baiting occurring only in catchment zones far removed from the Warragamba supply storage,” a spokesman said.
Scientist argues dingoes should be protected
The Department of Planning Industry and Environment said the program had been carefully mapped out, and baits would not be dropped within 200 metres of waterways.
That does not reassure Kylie Cairns, a molecular biologist and geneticist who specialises in dingo research at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
She is opposed to any baiting in national parks where dingoes roam, saying they are Australia’s land-based apex predator and should be protected.
“If you have the apex predator being controlled in such a manner, you could be disturbing or impacting negatively on the natural environment in that area,” she said.
Dr Cairns said since baiting was typically done to reduce the loss of livestock in agricultural areas it was “shocking” that baiting was planned up to 10 kilometres inside the world heritage area.
“You have to ask, is that really balancing the need to conserve dingoes in their environment … with the impact that they might be doing to livestock operations on the outside of the park?”
She said a growing body of work suggested habitats could be improved in areas where dingoes were well managed and, that in particular, dingoes helped keep kangaroo numbers down, which allowed plants and smaller herbivores to flourish.
Expert says baiting needed to control dingoes
Greg Mifsud is the national wild dog management coordinator at the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions. He supports the use of aerial baiting to access hard to reach areas. And he said it was more targeted than the name suggested.
“The movement of foxes and dogs in those landscapes after fire could be quite different and therefore targeting areas with aerial baiting just means you might be able to get a better uptake of baits by animals that you’re targeting,” Mr Mifsud said.
He was not involved in the program run in the Warragamba Special Area, but he does oversee the National Wild Dog Action Plan and provides advice to landholders and agricultural groups on predator control strategies.
Mr Mifsud said dingoes still posed a significant threat to wildlife and he argued regular baiting was needed because as soon as it stopped, they came back.
“Dogs aren’t going away,” he said.
“Despite the best efforts, they’ve adapted to the changes and they’re moving into areas, like … on the outskirts of Brisbane and places like that. So it’s really just going to be about ongoing management.”
Concerns over ‘cruelty’ and native animals
Mark Greenhill is the Mayor of the Blue Mountains City Council, which covers a large section of the world heritage area. He’s opposed to the use of 1080 because he thinks animals that ingest it die painful deaths.
“We can be more humane than that,” he said.
“My concern is that, apart from the cruelty of the poison, there’s no guarantee this poison wasn’t taking out native animals.”
This year, his council officially banned the use of 1080 in his government area. That ban does not cover land controlled by the state government, such as national parks, but he wished it did.
“The [Warragamba Special Area], while outside our local government area, is still within the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. So, forgive me for feeling somewhat proprietorial,” he said.
A spokesperson for NPWS told the ABC it had seen a 90 per cent reduction in fox activity across the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area since it started baiting last year.
NPWS also said strict legal conditions surrounded aerial baiting and ensured human safety.
UNBELIEVABLE? Well no, not really. Time everyone woke up to the corruption. But as far as this article is concerned, why don’t reporters make themselves familiar with the substances in question? The company was making pure 1080, (sodium fluoroacetate), and had in the warehouse the substances necessary to make it (400L of ethyl fluoroacetate, sodium hydroxide, and ethanol) as well as some unknown quantity of sodium fluoroacetate.
“The company was under pressure to meet its supply obligations and decided to try to manufacture sodium fluoroacetate – the active ingredient in 1080 – locally rather than importing it.” Sodium fluoroacetate IS pure 1080, and NO-ONE in NZ has the consent to manufacture it, not even the NZ government’s own 1080 bait factory in Whanganui. The pure, deadly ingredient is imported from Tull Chemical Co in Oxford, Alabama, and has been for many, many years. It is the active ingredient in 1080 cereal baits, not “the active ingredient in 1080”. One of the most deadly substances in the world. 1/143 of a teaspoon can kill a 70kg human being and yet this was being manufactured illegally in a warehouse in a heavily built up area, with an aquatic centre (where children learn to swim) across the driveway and a preschool nearby, without consent, without signage, and unbeknown to the other businesses in the building at 56 Wickham St, Bromley. Not only that but the warehouse had no ventilation. I am told that in court yesterday when asked about the means of ventilation they said they would lift the roller door onto the carpark/entrance!! I am also told that the judge said that 1080 was not to be referred to in court as 1080, but as sodium fluoroacetate. How many people in NZ know the chemical sodium fluoroacetate is 1080! Why would the judge say that do you think? Rhetorical question. Oh, words fail me… those who have been following this case will know what I mean. A whitewash, pure and simple. Here is the true story behind this:
EWR comment: the 1080 issue is still as present as ever. It has been overshadowed more urgently at this blog by the CV VX rollout. The 1080 poisoning however continues, business as usual with currently the East Cape to be slathered with this deadly poison. Sixty years on and we still have the pests? How long does one keep applying a solution that doesn’t work? Meanwhile the beautiful Kea is in serious decline. If you are new to the 1080 problem here in NZ just watch the GrafBoys’ excellent award winning doco ‘Poisoning Paradise‘ & visit their site tv-wild.com. Also see our 1080 pages (main menu). Article below… __________________________________________________________________________
IMPORTANT UNPUBLISHED LETTER BY DR. FIONA McQUEEN – THE WANAKA SUN
“…most conservation –minded NZ’ers would be fairly shocked to hear that 1080 actually kills native birds – in any numbers, small or “huge”. This unfortunate fact has been well and truly proven in peer-reviewed studies and is termed “by-kill”. Which species? Tomtits, robins, morepork and kea to name a few… after the 2020 drop in the pristine Matukituki Valley, 50% of DoC’s monitored kea died” Dr Fiona McQueen
From Carol Sawyer
On April 15, 2021, The Wanaka Sun published an opinion piece by Ross Sinclair, committee member of the pro-1080 poison Central Otago Lakes “Forest and Bird”…. incorrect and biased as one might expect. Over the ensuing weeks there were a number of ‘Letters to the Editor’ in opposition to this article. (Notably there were none in support of the opinion piece, although Ross Sinclair was given the right of reply not once, but twice!) One letter was from Dr. Fiona McQueen, consultant rheumatologist at the SDHB, and author of “The Quiet Forest: The Case Against Aerial 1080”. The Sun’s editor, Pat Deavoll, told Dr. McQueen in an email on 19 April that she would “certainly publish it in the next edition- you have made some very good points”. It has never been published. I posted it on Facebook a week ago along with the original opinion piece, with Dr. Fiona McQueen’s permission. Strangely, I shared it to Upper Clutha Community Notices, a local Wanaka Facebook group with more than 7,000 members. It was approved and then quickly deleted and when I pointed this out to one of the admins with whom I have had cordial dealings in the past, it was reinstated. It was deleted again; again I pointed this out and it was reinstated. It appeared there was disagreement among the admins. Finally, after 24 hours or so, comments were turned off, this particular administrator sent me an extremely rude private message, totally uncalled for, referring to “your precious post”, the post was deleted, and she blocked me. Dr. McQueen’s letter STILL has not been published by The Wanaka Sun and yet here in this week’s issue is a letter from John Veysey, commenting on the non-existent letter !! (I thought I must have made a mistake but I have been back through the last 6 weeks of The Wanaka Sun and, no, Dr. Fiona McQueen’s letter has never been published). Here is her letter again, and I have attached John Veysey’s letter to The Wanaka Sun, from this week’s edition, (which must have a few people scratching their heads as no-one reading The Wanaka Sun has ever seen Dr. McQueen’s letter) :
“Dear Sir, I would like to make some comments in response to your recent article, “Putting 1080 to Bed”. Firstly, I would expect that most conservation –minded NZ’ers would be fairly shocked to hear that 1080 actually kills native birds – in any numbers, small or “huge”. This unfortunate fact has been well and truly proven in peer-reviewed studies and is termed “by-kill”. Which species? Tomtits, robins, morepork and kea to name a few. How many are killed? Contrary to Dr Sinclair, I find the data on kea to be extremely alarming. It has been estimated (by DoC) that each poisoning operation will kill, on average, 12% of kea. But sometimes that percentage has been much higher. For example after the 2020 drop in the pristine Matukituki Valley, 50% of DoC’s monitored kea died. “The keas’ deaths will be horrific, with extreme muscular spasms going on for many hours,” said Dr Jo Pollard, PhD, an independent scientist who has crusaded for years against the use of aerial 1080. Personal confirmation of this came to me quite separately from an individual working on a DOC hut during 2020. In the days following a 1080 drop he commented, “the keas were making a really awful noise, it sounded like they might have been screaming …” It is very disturbing that there are so few of these iconic birds to be found now around the West Coast, in areas where they used to be plentiful. DOC says its the stoats. Really? Stoats were introduced more than a hundred years ago. The kea population only seems to have plummeted in the last twenty or so (since intensive and repetitive 1080 drops have been underway in kea habitat). More likely it is something that most definitely kills them in large numbers – 1080. Ross Sinclair has alluded to the recently published paper by Bomans et al, (NZ Journal of Ecology 2021) investigating the effect of 1080 drops on birdsong. True, there was very little difference shown between 1080 and control groups over a period of years (leaving aside the subgroup of tomtits exposed to 1080 where birdsong was reduced). But hold on, shouldn’t there have been a difference? Isn’t that what the whole 1080 programme is supposed to do? Bring back the birdsong? Here is conclusive scientific proof that it is a complete waste of time and money, with a lot of dreadful suffering thrown in for many helpless creatures.
Are we expected to believe that chemicals were being processed in the Bromley warehouse (this was stated in the original news story) but that despite the chemicals in the warehouse being those used for manufacturing pure 1080, the company was NOT manufacturing pure 1080?
Unfortunately Stuff has not made clear, or understood, the difference between importing 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) and storing the chemicals needed to make it! ( See quote).
If you are not manufacturing sodium fluoroacetate, but only importing it, why do you need the chemicals used to make it?! An important question to have asked, surely? As the article points out, manufacturing sodium fluoroacetate is not permitted in NZ. This building contained ethyl fluoroacetate, sodium hydroxide, and ethanol… the products needed to MANUFACTURE pure 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate). It also contained sodium fluoroacetate.
Quote from article: “The factory did not manufacture 1080, but stored the chemicals that could be used to make it. Manufacturing 1080 is not permitted in New Zealand but some companies, including PCR Ltd, have permission to make cereal bait from imported 1080.”
How do Stuff know the factory was not manufacturing 1080? It appears that PCR Ltd have not been CHARGED with manufacture, which is not the same thing. Assumptions being made here.
Quote from article: “Company spokesman Steve Attwood previously told Stuff the Bromley site was “essentially a storage facility”. What the company was doing with the chemicals was “a commercially sensitive process of delivering good pest control products”, he said.” ……What on earth does THAT mean?
The accident happened nearly two years ago and yet Unit 1, 56 Wickham St, Bromley, Christchurch has still not been decontaminated and still apparently contains these highly hazardous chemicals, as a Hazchem sign was eventually placed on the building last year and is still there. The three other units under the same roof are all leased by other businesses and an aquatic centre, where children learn to swim, is just metres away and shares the same drive-in entrance. The building is so hazardous that firemen have been forbidden to enter in case of fire! Today the Bromley court case was due to be heard at 10.00 am. After nearly two hours of other cases being heard it was again adjourned. Will it ever come to court? After WorkSafe NZ spent a year investigating this incident, charges were laid in June, 2020. The case was due to be heard in the Christchurch District Court in mid-July, 2020. It was postponed on the day. It was due to be heard on the 19th August, 2020. It was again postponed on the day. It was due to be heard on the 15th September, 2020. It was again postponed on the day. It was due to be heard on 2 December, 2020. It was postponed again on the day. It was due to be heard on 9 February, 2021. It was postponed again today.
PS After I contacted reporter Joanne Naish this afternoon she brought the question of manufacture to her editor’s attention. The editor has therefore made a tweak. This part now reads:”The company previously said it was not manufacturing 1080 at the Bromley warehouse, but was storing the chemicals that could be used to make it.”
As of today, Japan is warning it will stop importing New Zealand honey if it continues to find the weed killer glyphosate during border testing. What will happen if they ever realize they should test for 1080 poison as well?! On September 21, 2018, Benita Martin sent a question to Comvita – “Please advise what tests for 1080 are undertaken on your honey? I’m worried about the bees that were found on the 1080 poisoned cows and your hives are closest to the location.”
“Comvita uses Analytica Laboratories to undertake Sodium monofluoroacetate (1080) testing. Analytica are an IANZ accredited laboratory who perform a wide variety of bee product testing on behalf of the Apiculture industry. Comvita undertook 1080 testing on a range of honey samples which were taken from honey harvested between September 2017 – March 2018 including honey from 1080 drop zones. No traces of 1080 were detected in any samples which is inline with all scientific literature which suggests the risk of contamination to bees and their products appeared to be negligible. ‘Low risk’ is a category we assign to this residue in our testing schedule, and best reflects where no verified evidence of cross contamination is known to occur. This is consistent with research we have seen elsewhere which indicated 1080 is not attractive to bees and poses no threat.”
Staff from New Zealand Dept of Conservation are often employed as ‘consultants’ for overseas ‘pest’ eradication projects. One example of such an eradication attempt comes from Wake Atoll, known as ‘Wake Island’ – which is between Hawaii and Guam in the northern Pacific Ocean. It is made up of Wake, (525 ha), Peale (95 ha), and Wilkes Islands (76 ha).
Wake is an unincorporated U.S. territory that is managed by the Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force. About 70 people reside on Wake (military personnel and contractors). Wake has approximately 19 km of coastline and is an important breeding area for many species of seabirds.Importantly, the coastline is also fished by the local residents for sport and food.
In 2012 an aerial brodifacoum poisoning operation took place over the islands to try to eradicate rats. How long brodifacoum persists in the environment is unclear, but we know it can potentially affect the food chain. These residues may impact on fish that are caught by Wake Island residents for sport and consumption. Three months after the poisoning, 5 out of 48 samples had “detectable levels” of poison – toxicologists therefore recommended a 942 day fishing ban after initial testing was done. But how much longer would the pesticide be in the food chain?
In 2015 – THREE YEARS AFTER this aerial operation of brodifacoum – samples from various marine life were taken. The scientists found that some fish (1 of 8 bluefin trevally, and 4 of 4 blacktail snapper, all from within a lagoon) had low but detectable levels of brodifacoum residues.
The scientists suggest that outcomes from their investigation should provide a comprehensive idea of the risks of contamination in marine life over the longer term from using pesticides aerially. In the article, the authors state “All reasonable efforts should be made to minimize unnecessary environmental and nontarget exposures (e.g., through precise application methods) and all risk assessments must consider the specific context of proposed action [poisoning the environment].”
However, an aerial distribution from helicopter of a lethal poison can NEVER be ‘precise’. The environment and the residents’ health have been put at risk.Reference: Siers, Shane R.; Shiels, Aaron B.; Volker, Steven F.; Rex, Kristen; and Pitt, William C., “Brodifacoum residues in fish three years after an island-wide rat eradication attempt in the tropical Pacific” (2020). USDA National Wildlife Research Center – Staff Publications. 2313.https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/icwdm_usdanwrc/2313
Kathy White says: “Remember the Hauraki Gulf brodifacoum poison drop? The dead dolphins, penguins, dogs and toxic sea-slugs? And the DOC man interviewed on TV, lying about having tested the penguins and them being negative. Fortunately there was an astute journalist who probed and discovered they hadn’t tested them – they had just examined them. Years later, in Penny Fisher’s journal articles, it talked about detecting brodifacoum in the penguins and them thinking the penguins may have died of starvation. They did later studies on anticoagulant rodenticides in penguins and found more than 50% of South Island test subjects had at least one anticoagulant in them.”
Image 1: Wake Island aerial view. Source: Pinterest
Image 2: Brodifacoum baits Source: Wellington Council
Happy New Year and it’s with a sad heart that we provide a ‘heads up’ for some of the forthcoming next round of proposed poisoning operations in Aotearoa New Zealand – planned by Dept of Conservation and/or Ospri. Other poison operations may not be made public. Three examples are shown in images below, taken from the current online Pesticide Summary. The South Island’s West Coast is already heavily poisoned, with deadly diphacinone, brodifacoum, 1080, cyanide and other toxins. The cocktail effect of these multiple chemicals in sublethal amounts is a total unknown in terms of the impact on our public health. But, despite this, a further mixture of a cyanide and 1080 (bait stations and hand laying) is planned near Hokitika. Meanwhile, on the East Coast near Kaikoura, more cyanide will be laid in bait bags near areas already previously poisoned with 1080. What are the effects of a mix of cyanide and 1080? The streams feed the drinking water supplies for residents and stock. The streams all eventually meet the sea, of course. Are the Kiwi tourists paying to be whale-watchers, aware of the invisible toxins those wildlife face? And thirdly (but by no means, finally) aerial 1080 poison is proposed to be spread by helicopter over 7412 hectares adjacent to sacred Aoraki Mt Cook.
Will 2021 bring any relief from these poisons to our land and water?
Well,well, well…..it seems that when people look up HeliOtago Ltd, at least one of the photos they get is this one I took of one of their rescue helicopters, ZK-IME, dropping 1080 poison at Makarora, Mt Aspiring National Park, on February 23, 2017.Google has just congratulated me and told me the photo has had 10,176 views and it appears to be tied to the Google Maps ‘HeliOtago Ltd’ location ID.Google said “10,000Hi Carol,10,000 photo views—that’s something to be proud of!Thanks for adding photos to Google Maps—they are helping others make decisions about the things worth doing and places worth seeing. Keep it up!” Things worth doing ?!!!! Dropping 1080 poison ?! Google is nuts!
“Admin are extremely concerned for public health and safety now that almost the entire West Coast of South Island is currently covered in deadly pesticides – mainly 1080, and also cyanide and others poisons, aerial and distributed by hand. From Kohaihai Bluff, North of Oparara River, all the way down to Wanganui Bluff, near Poerua River, around Hari Hari – there are multiple poison operations in and around the coasts, rivers, estuaries and forests. And astonishingly, even more are planned. This presents a high risk of contamination of drinking water and our food chains. As New Zealanders travel around our country during the Christmas holidays, often for the first time – we URGE people to be aware, to take precautions and to share your knowledge of the pesticide risks with others. Remember: 1080 poison has NO ANTIDOTE. If you have internet coverage where you are – much of the West Coast sadly does not – check Dept of Conservation Pesticide Summary interactive maps, alongside the regional councils and Ospri websites. If you do not have access to the internet, please visit your local council and DoC office (if they are open to the public) and insist that the staff find out whether an area is contaminated. Do NOT rely on signage as this is often missing, unhelpful and/or illegible.” ____________________________________________________________________________
This petition is from Organic NZ. Councils NZ wide are spraying the probable carcinogen (IARC) glyphosate. For further info on this widely used toxic herbicide see our glyphosate pages here (not the sub tabs also for videos etc.) EWR ________________________________________________________________________
In 2016 the EPA produced what scientists consider to be a flawed cancer review to discredit the findings of the EPA’s own cancer authority. New Zealand professors and scientists remain ‘mystified’ and have spoken repeatedly (here and here and here) about the EPA’s frozen stance on glyphosate. An Official Information [ENQ-35127-N5J6C7]request has found that the EPA has never conducted a formal risk assessment of glyphosate or the commercial formulation.
Chemical companies are paying out for the damage caused
Following the IARC decision, cases in the U.S. have awarded the claimants damages against Monsanto (since 2018, owned by Bayer). The court cases uncovered evidence that showed how Monsanto took action to limit and distort public knowledge. Punitive damages were awarded for ‘reprehensible’ conduct. The jury trials are now under appeal with Bayer claiming the verdict of regulators across the world upholds Bayer’s stance. Unfortunately, as scientists have illustrated (in Europe and the USA), regulatory agencies relied on ghostwritten industry studies and ignored data that the IARC considered important.
In June 2020 Bayer proposed a settlement of USD$8.8-10.9 billion to settle over 125,000 U.S. lawsuits to resolve Roundup litigation. Bayer has framed the complex settlement proposal as an end to ‘uncertainty’. The proposal contained no admission that glyphosate-based herbicides caused the cancer claimed by cancer sufferers, many former farmers, who see the proposal as a slap in the face. The settlement proposal may restrict future claimants from a jury trial. New Zealand doesn’t face the same court cases here because the ACC covers such cases as accidents.
Why isn’t New Zealand taking action?
Ignoring the calls of scientists, New Zealand councils refer to the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority (NZ EPA) to claim that glyphosate is a ‘low toxicity herbicide’. The hazard rating given by the NZ EPA provides a legal rationale that it is safe enough to spray in public places. This is wrong!
It is evident from operations in Auckland and Christchurch that councils and contractors need to make a lot of changes in order to shift away from glyphosate dependency – like any addiction – shifting to a new mindset isn’t always easy. Much of the management and contract negotiation are out of the public eye – so it is difficult for the public to understand what is going on. Councils don’t appear to be undertaking properly accountable trials with new technologies and recording and documenting trial methods, how they cope with and reduce over time the weed seed banks, and making this information public. We know non-toxic alternatives and management regimes can never neatly replace toxic chemical use. Shift away from addiction requires a change in mindset and operations.
We also understand that councils struggle to adopt the precautionary principle. This would help deal with uncertainty (which is always present). Councils may not be comfortable weighing the risk to families, and particularly babies and children, with the risk of complaints from irate rate-payers or staff worried about the stress on physical assets. These are value-based decisions, and are an important part of making any decision to protect health or the environment.
SIGN THE PETITION AT THE ORGANIC NZ PAGE, LINK BELOW:
“It’s a tale that illustrates an important and irrefutable point, the organisations that New Zealanders believe are there to protect them from the sort of dishonest sociopaths who are behind this sordid mess are actually only there to make them THINK that they are protected.
Where in God’s name should you start?
Where were the “democratically” elected councillors when the West Coast District Council ignored their constituents’ widespread and well publicised opposition to the use of 1080 in order to bankroll this commercially, morally and scientifically flawed enterprise?
Where was the office of the auditor general when $272,549 was slipped out the back door as an “impairment” to avoid scrutiny of what would otherwise be very questionable business decision?
Where were ECAN while all of this was taking place under their noses? The site is still not listed on their register of land use information to this day.
Where were Worksafe when this witches’ brew of toxic chemicals was deposited upwind of a densely populated residential zone without even a rudimentary warning sign in place?
Where was ANYONE when the council, in what I can only view as a barefaced attempt to slink out from underneath its responsibilities for site decontamination, sold off its shareholding at a massive loss?
Where were ECANZ, FENZ and WorkSafe when the job of ensuring that the site was made safe in a timely manner was discussed?
Where were the courts when the task of holding the, frankly despicable, perpetrators of these events promptly to task arose?
The only people who come out of this with any credit are the foot soldiers on the ground who went in to clean up this unholy mess, the ESR team, the FENZ fire-fighters and the ambulance crews and medical staff who saved the life of the worker involved in the original explosion.
Outcomes like this don’t happen through laziness or incompetence. They happen by design.”
Email from WorkSafe NZ forwarded by Asst Area Commander, Steve Kennedy, Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ), to ?, January, 2020.
Here is the text of that email for clearer reading, though I have attached the screenshot too:
“Completed by Steve Kennedy Just a quick follow-up from the operation we mounted with both FENZ and ESR assistance at the Pest Control Research NZ Limited worksite at Unit 1, 56 Wickham Street, Bromley, Christchurch in June last year (Wednesday, 12 June and Thursday, 13 June 2019). The site remains sealed under WorkSafe direction and has not been entered since Thursday, 13 June 2019 the site remains contaminated and the same hazardous substances remain in situ. We continue to work with Pest Control Research for them to developed and produce an adequately robust decontamination and site recovery plan, while there appears to be some reluctance on their part to move this along. I have been ask to confirm our understand that FENZ continues to flag this site/address in your CAD systems as a contaminated hazardous substance location containing quantities of: Sodium Hydroxide [CAS 1310732 ] (solid) Ethyl Fluoroacetate [CAS 459-72-3] (liquid) Ethanol [CAS 64-17-5) (liquid) Sodium Fluoroac by Steve Kennedy”
Also attached is the email that says fire officers must not enter the building. A photo of this email is attached, but for ease of reading I have copied out the text here. It was also sent by Fire Service Asst Area Commander Steve Kennedy, again in January, 2020, and says:
“This message was sent with High Importance.
In June 2019 FENZ, in conjunction with Worksafe, was involved in an incident at Pest Control Research, 1/56 Wickham. The site remains contaminated following an industrial incident involving the manufacture of Sodium Fluoroacetate.
No entry is to be made to this building. The site report and Dispatch Safety Alert have been updated.”
Excellent work by Stuff reporter, Joanne Naish. At last something is starting to come out in the open.
“The company did not dispute official documents from Fenz, but allegations the company was making 1080 at the site had only come from the “anti-1080 brigade”, he said.
“Oh yeah? Here is the text of an email from Fire Service Assistant Area-Commander, Steve Kennedy, January, 2020:
“This message was sent with High Importance.
In June 2019 FENZ, in conjunction with Worksafe, was involved in an incident at Pest Control Research, 1/56 Wickham. The site remains contaminated following an industrial incident involving the manufacture of Sodium Fluoroacetate.
No entry is to be made to this building. The site report and Dispatch Safety Alert have been updated.”
On site are the following chemicals, according to a Work Safe email sent to FENZ and forwarded by Steve Kennedy to ? on 23 January, 2020. (I have a copy and have posted it up previously):
Ethyl fluoroacetate, ethanol, sodium hydroxide, and sodium fluoroacetate (pure 1080).
See the last method in this document… one way to make pure 1080 is to mix ethyl fluoroacetate, methanol and sodium hyroxide. Ethyl fluoroacetate is highly flammable and very dangerous, as dangerous as sodium fluoroacetate (1080). It isn’t used to make Christmas cake.
Ummmm….. why was there no hazardous chemical signage put on this building by Work Safe NZ – until 2020 when a small hazchem sign was put up beside the door?
Why was Unit 2, next door to this one, leased out towards the end of 2019, with the real estate agent who leased it out knowing nothing about what was through the wall, or so he told me? (The accident happened on May 28, 2019).
Here are two articles by Carol Sawyer reporting on DoC bungles that involved health risks to people, in spite of the Department’s assurances of safety. In spite also of the results reported health-wise, still the Department continues to drop the deadly poison by the tonne, every year, like a ‘veritable lolly scramble’ as one expert in the field has described it. These mishaps are not rare isolated incidents either. EWR __________________________________________________________________________
By Carol Sawyer
Further to this post, I received this message in 2017 from the late Lloyd Hanson, to post on my page :
“John Sinclair the Investigator was one of the original owners of Marlborough Helicopters and I believe sold out to Owen Dodson, who conducted this operation. I am not saying that Mr Sinclair’s summation was incorrect but surely considering his conflict of Interest it would seem prudent to declare this and step away – NOT SO!
I went in to the scene of the bucket loss a few days later and observed dozens of broken 1080 pellets amongst the smashed foliage – a poor cleanup !”
************************************************************************ I do note that both the pilots received aviation safety awards, four years prior to this dropped bucket episode :
Fiona Stonehouse, one of the trampers who was rained on with 1080 poison by pilot Simon Moar, commented on the article:
“What the article does not say is that we were assured by a DoC worker that we would be fine walking the track that day before we even started the tramp. There was supposed to be a buffer zone of 20metres on both sides of the track which was a condition of our withdrawing our legal opposition submission. We went through the lengthy and time consuming legal process and made terms that we had no alternative but to accept and DoC failed to deliver to those agreed terms because of the bucket malfunction and their decision to continue with the drop despite the fact that they knew they could not comply with the terms of the agreement. It makes no difference what our political opinions on the subject are, we were told we would be safe and that we were allowed to be there and it turned out that we weren’t safe. No body is around this poison and that is what the knuckle heads who use and endorse 1080 fail to acknowledge,”
and when asked why she didn’t find a lawyer she wrote:
“We did find a lawyer who isn’t afraid to take on the government but she costs money and we have been opposing this bs for a long time now.
“Later she wrote:
” Elliot (Graeme Elliott, Principal Advisory Scientist, Dept of Conservation) admitted that our 2013 drop was an experiment at our hearing; there was a control area not being dropped on and Mt Stanley, which was aerially dusted with 1080. We haven’t seen the data from those experiments despite an initial request for them. How dare they experiment with deadly poisons on such a massive scale on a publicly accessible reserve ! We were also assured that 1080 would not be dropped in the waterways because they had a new trick(le) feeder that could accurately direct the flow of the pellets and the gps accuracy would keep the pellets out of the waterways. Well that was a farce from start to finish. Not only did they make sure 1080 was in every waterway but they also dusted people with 1080 – they had a malfunction with a clip holding the bucket on and dropped a bucket of 1080, people were injured and public were dusted with 1080 because of DoC’s ineptitude, and now while we are trying to get some acknowledgement of what went on nobody wants to know. Civil Aviation who should investigate all traffic accidents don’t want to know, the Medical Officer doesn’t want to know and I think DoC are hoping we will just quietly go away. Some of our group have relocated overseas because they became so disheartened with the bullshit but they weren’t natives to start with.”
Fiona’s parents, Doug and Phemie Stonehouse, were waiting in their boat for their daughter and her friends to finish walking the Nydia Bay Track. One of these helicopters flew straight towards and over them. They tried to duck under cover in the boat but say they were sprayed with dust. They have suffered ill health since.
I was reminded of this just the other day when I read a new article (Greymouth Star, 14 November, 2020) entitled ‘1080 Dust Tests “Inconclusive” ‘, which is about ESR’s experiments to see if 1080 dust travels . It mentions the two women picnicking near Greymouth, who were showered with 1080 fragments, and the article concluded with this short paragraph:
“Retired fisherman Doug Stonehouse also claimed he and his wife have suffered ill health after they were accidentally caught in dust from an aerial 1080 operation in the Marlborough Sounds.”
I was sent two reports in the post that give a bit more background.
1 )”Investigation into uncommanded bucket release” by John Sinclair, NZ AAA and NZ Helicopter Assn, Occurrence Investigator
2 ) “Notes on Aerial 1080 drop 2/11/2013, Mt Stanley, Tennyson Inlet” by Phil Clerke, senior biodiversity ranger, Dept of Conservation, Picton.
These two reports make for fascinating reading.
This drop was conducted by Marlborough Heliopters Ltd for the Dept of Conservation. Two pilots were involved, Owen Dodson and Simon Moar, flying two Bell Jetrangers, ZK-HJI and ZK-HZE. The senior of the two pilots, Dodson, was a director of the helicopter company. Simon Moar was completing only his second poison drop, “but he had considerable experience in other aerial agricultural operations and is a competent pilot with sufficient experience to undertake poison drops”, Occurrence Investigator, John Sinclair said.
According to the report by DoC’s Phil Clerke, Owen Dodson left the barge to commence his baiting, but arrived back “somewhat shaken” and minus his bucket. He had ” visibly received an impact above the eye ( I was later to learn it was from the breaking airline leading to the bucket ). I was unsure of the exact details but picked up that the bucket’s airline then struck the rotors as well. I later learned that (Owen Dodson) also lost partial sight in this eye.
“This report differs slightly from the Occurrence Investigator, John Sinclair’s, report which says ” …….Owen Dodson was carrying out a trickle feed of sensitive boundaries when the bucket and its load of 1080 suffered an uncommanded release from the helicopter. In the departure sequence a pneumatic control line severed and flicked up cutting the pilot’s eye”. Also the “pneumatic control line had connected with the OAT and cracked the windscreen”.
Despite this injury, Dodson flew himself to Blenheim and came back in an R22 with a long lifting chain, after which Moar went off ( with the chain presumably ) to recover the dropped bucket ! Once this was done, Dodson returned to Blenheim in the R22.
John Sinclair’s report has a great deal of detail about the bucket release, But he says ” I believe that the most likely cause of the uncommanded release of the cargo hook was the helicopter’s manual cargo hook release being activated, then not properly returned to the safe position before it was next used” ( Human error, in other words ).
Because of all this dropped bucket palavah, this meant that the less experienced pilot, Simon Moar, had to complete the sensitive boundaries – instead of now-injured Owen Dodson, who had been the one supposed to be doing it, being the more experienced pilot. John Sinclair’s report reads : ” In the course of doing this (Simon Moar) misjudged conditions and allowed the wind to carry a small amount of bait onto the Nydia Bay Track. (Moar was under considerable pressure because of the need to do another drop the next day in Golden Bay. While DoC had offered to postpone the operation there would be the logistics of barging all the bait back to Picton if the operation was curtailed. These pressures may have impacted on his subconscious, especially given that the weather windows this spring have been very few and far between.”
The bait falling “onto the Nydia Bay Track” unfortunately appears to have fallen on the trampers mentioned in the article below. In the Occurrence Investigator, John Sinclair’s, report he just refers to it thus: “The dropping of the bucket did however impact on an adverse environmental effect later in the day”. ( The adverse environmental effect presumably being dropping 1080 pellets on trampers.) In the DoC report, Phil Clerke says a DoC worker, Wendy, “radioed in to pass on that she had met trampers that claimed they were rained on, on the track, at the saddle”.
The trampers, incidentally, knew of the 1080 drop but had been told the track itself was SAFE as it had an exclusion zone of 20 metres.
Some questions I have are these :
1 ) Why did Owen Dodson fly a helicopter back to Blenheim and collect another one, when it had a cracked windscreen and he had a cut on his eye ! Not only that but he returned with another helicopter !
2 ) Why was a pilot who had only done one 1080 drop before, allowed to fly the sensitive boundaries, when as well as this the wind had got up – Phil Clerke says ” the wind was noted to increase in velocity, (Simon Moar) and I had a discussion about this. It was still considered workable.” So pellets land on trampers !
3 ) This question should be asked of DoC : Why on earth was 1080 poison loaded onto helicopters off a barge in pristine Tennyson Inlet ? The DoC report says ” A vacuum cleaner, dust brushes/ pans were to be used with the initial barge clean up to reduce wash down contamination. Wash down would only be used when no further bait fragments could be recovered.” ( Meaning 1080 dust would be washed into Tennyson Inlet, presumably ! )
John Sinclair used to own Marlborough Helicopters Ltd, by the way. Oh, and Marlborough Helicopters Ltd got a safety award !!!!
“Tony Orman The Tennyson Inlet drop was a shambles. Toxic carcasses floating in the tide. No animal problem until DOC interfered. All it achieved was a rat population explosion followed by a stoat boom in numbers as proven by research, e.g Ruscoe 2007. And disruption of the ecosystem’s food chain. What is it that these fools in DOC who were responsible, don’t understand?”
Press Release by the Sporting Hunters Outdoor Trust
A West Coast conservationist and spokesman for the Sporting Hunters Outdoor Trust has challenged the justification for a 1080 aerial drop in the Tararua Ranges by OSPRI (former Animal Health Board) saying it is founded on a false belief that possums are responsible for spreading bovine TB.
Laurie Collins of the West Coast said current 1080 aerial drops on public lands in the Tararua Ranges were based on twin fallacies of possums spreading TB and the country had a TB problem. “Neither is true,” he said. “It’s irresponsible of OSPRI to be wasting public funds and damaging the ecology of the Tararua’s public lands with 1080 plus telling fibs.” Laurie Collins said the belief that possum spread bovine TB had been disproven a few years ago when in Parliament the Minister of Primary Industries disclosed that of 9830 possums autopsied, none had TB. Yet in 2020 we have OSPRI carrying out mass aerial 1080 poisoning in several areas including public lands such as the Tararua Ranges,” he said. Laurie Collins said New Zealand was virtually TB free and was probably one of the most TB-free countries in the world. The world standard for a country to declare “TB free” is 0.2% for TB infected herds and 0.1% for infected cattle. New Zealand rates of TB infection in cattle were slight, i.e. 0.0019% average generally over the last decade. “It is so far below that required by world standards for a TB free declaration – that New Zealand must be one of the world’s most TB free countries”, he said. “Of deep concern to New Zealanders who are outdoors people, whether tramping, hunting, trout fishing or seeking any recreation in mountain areas, is the indiscriminate spreading of a poison that kills anything which ingests it.” The poison 1080 knows no “species boundaries -whether an insect, bird or animal, it kills, he said. Laurie Collins now retired has long and extensive experience of 1080 having been involved as a Forest Service trainee in the trials of the toxin’s first use in the late 1950s in the Caples Valley, Lake Wakatipu and in subsequent pest management work. In the past there had been cases of farmers wrongly transporting stock from infected areas with resultant TB outbreaks on farms. OSPRI had ignored the stock transportation factor and proceeded to wrongly blame possums and then aerially spread 1080 over adjoining public lands. Laurie Collins cited such an instance in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley. NZ’s extremely low TB infection rates raised the question whether OSPRI had a continuing role. “Instead of celebrating New Zealand’s Tb-free status, OSPRI remains in denial and states their aim is total eradication of TB,” he said. “
Is it that OSPRI want to continue its existence and jobs, funded for by taxpayers and farmer levies?” Even from the first discovery of TB in possums near Westport in the late 1960s, no-one ever seems to have questioned whether the possum infected cattle, or cattle infected the possum. The default position has always been that it is possums that have infected the cattle. “What probably began as a few civil servants getting some money from the then Ministry of Agriculture slowly morphed over time into a part of a growth program in the ministries bureaucracy,” he added.
Facebook page Ecocide Awareness NZ reports on a 1080 aerial poison drop over Mt Pirongia. This is the second report around consultation (or not) by the authorities recently. EWR
“The dirty deed is done. The poison contractors to NZ Dept of Conservation and Waikato Regional Council – Helia1 and EcoFX Ltd leave the scene of the crime, with a police escort. There was NO consultation for this aerial 1080 poison operation over Mt Pirongia and NO consent from at least 13 of the local marae and Maori tribal groups around the maunga. New Zealand laws have been broken, not least the Treaty of Waitangi Act, which these poisoning agencies try to claim they respect. What an insult to the citizens of New Zealand.”
“Private lands, which often have numerous owners, are being targeted for 1080 drops by Ospri, DOC and regional councils. A local area, Mahakirau, with 20 partners, “agreed” to poisoning on the strength of a single signature and a bribe of $10,000. At Kennedy’s Bay a group of land parcels with hundreds of different Maori owners, is to receive a 1080 drop on the say-so of just two members of the community. The lack of consultation in both operations has caused enormous friction in the particular communities. In the case of Tataraakina only one trustee gave consent for their lands to be poisoned. How much longer will these authorities be allowed to get away with this behaviour?”
“The Department of Conservation has been giving Pirongia landowners a flier that says “1080 does not kill or harm fish.” This is completely misleading and dangerous for those who eat fish, eels, shellfish and koura. See for yourself what scientists have said in an independent summary of research into 1080 and fish. Quotes: “There are indications of sub-lethal effects on fish among the very limited studies that have been done:“significantly greater weight loss occurred in eels exposed to 1080 compared to those that were not”…”the sub-lethal concentrations of 1080 in the water may have been sufficient to inhibit eel metabolism”…”sub-lethal 1080 exposure presented to eels through ingestion of contaminated possum may have been sufficient to temporarily inhibit eel metabolism” (Lyver et al., 2005) “96-hour [exposure of Rainbow trout, half of individuals dead at] 54 mg/l, sub-lethal effects on survivors – not specified” (ERMA Agency, Appendix C)”Fish & Game ranger Lawson Davey said the national safety limit of 1080 in any food was 0.001 milligrams per kilogram, but the Cawthron Institute’s October toxicology results of 22 trout fed the poison showed muscle tissue with 1080 levels up to 4.7mg per kg. https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/64310400/1080-drop-raises-trout-risk-fears Preliminary results of a DoC-commissioned study by the Cawthron Research Institute has shown the flesh of trout that ate mice containing the toxin would have levels of 1080 that exceeded New Zealand Food Safety Authority limits. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11332357 The maximum concentrations measured in trout tissue (up to 4.7 mg/kg) were observed at 24 h and 48 h after ingestion. The concentration decreased to close to 2 mg/kg after 84 h. An increase in 1080 concentration in the flesh was observed after 120 h, but the number of replicates at this interval was low (n = 2). Cawthron Institute: 1080 UPTAKE AND ELIMINATION IN RAINBOW TROUT For more information, click on the link below. https://1080science.co.nz/is-1080-harmless-to-fish/
1080science.co.nz Is 1080 Harmless to Fish? | 1080 Science The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report on 1080 poison (Wright, 2011) claimed that effects of 1080 on populations of eels, koura and bullies had been studied (by Suren & Lambert, 2006) and that no effect on any of the fish was found.
Ex Horowhenua Mayor Michael Feyen speaks about the alternatives proposed by the Advance NZ party that will create job opportunities for the people. (Currently the associated dollars funnel into the 1080 poison state owned gravy train). Michael has always been supportive of alternatives to 1080, during his time as both councilor and mayor with the Horowhenua District Council. Unfortunately it was not a vision shared by enough of his colleagues to have gained any traction. Time for change. EWR
WET JACKET PENINSULAS, FIORDLAND, AERIAL 1080 POISON DROP STARTS – WEEP FOR THE KEA!
By Carol Sawyer
“So, here they are again and this time DoC have done a wee conjuring trick and say it is for stoats (there being no rats). Stoats don’t eat 1080 baits.”
“We have an estimated 1,000 Kea left in the wild in New Zealand….. in the whole world in fact, as they are endemic – i.e.they exist only here! The latest 1080 poison drop in the Matukituki Valley, Mt Aspiring National Park, February 2020, killed 50% of the Kea. More than that will die in the Wet Jacket Peninsulas drop because it is midwinter and the Kea are very hungry.”
Do you know what happens to 1080-poisoned Kea? They stagger around taking hours and hours to die. They bury their heads in the snow to try and get relief from the pain. Dr.Jo Pollard says “The keas’ deaths will be horrific, with extreme muscular spasms going on for many hours.” David Attenborough called them the most intelligent bird in the world. They are the world’s only alpine parrot.
Three BK-117 helicopters – ZK-IME (a.k.a Big Red the Rescue Helicopter), ZK-HJK,(white), and ZK-HEM, (red and white), and a Longranger, all belonging to HeliOtago Ltd, left Dunedin at 6.30 pm this evening heading west to be in place for starting their evil work tomorrow morning. Seven choppers arrived at Monowai tonight… yet to find out if they are all HeliOtago Ltd or if three are from another company. I have been told HeliOtago Ltd flew the prefeed baits from a private farm property at Monowai, last weekend.
This area has never before been poisoned. The drop was planned for last October but there were NO rats so it was postponed and, I am told, the poison that had been brought south for the drop was instead used in the Kepler Mountains drop last March, which was squeezed in just before lockdown…. I’m informed they added on the Princess Mountains to use all the extra poison up. No monitoring done there apparently.
So, here they are again and this time DoC have done a wee conjuring trick and say it is for stoats (there being no rats). Stoats don’t eat 1080 baits.
I can tell you what it WILL kill in large numbers… Kea. As the area has never before been poisoned there are many Kea reported to be in the area. (A while back a pilot sent me a photo of seven Kea that landed beside him when he touched down there.)
We have an estimated 1,000 Kea left in the wild in New Zealand….. in the whole world in fact, as they are endemic – i.e.they exist only here! The latest 1080 poison drop in the Matukituki Valley, Mt Aspiring National Park, February 2020, killed 50% of the Kea. More than that will die in the Wet Jacket Peninsulas drop because it is midwinter and the Kea are very hungry.
The Empire of the Dept of Conservation, greedy helicopter companies, and all their parasitic acolytes WILL fall… but it will be too late for the Kea.
Any of you gutless DoC employees reading this who put your personal livelihoods before your knowledge of this travesty and the horror it entails, and keep your mouths shut pleading “I can’t afford to lose my job”… hang your heads in shame why don’t you! You know who you are!
Ditto the local media who know about this drop and are too scared to touch it and tell the truth. You know who you are too.
Peter Shadie Director, IUCN World Heritage Programme IUCN World Headquarters Rue Mauverney 28 1196 Gland Switzerland email: email@example.com
11 June 2020
Dear Mr Shadie
Re: Government poisoning of World Heritage sites in New Zealand – Open letter
I am writing to bring your attention to the serious issue of the New Zealand Government’s aerial poisoning of a World Heritage site and hope that you will urgently contact the World Heritage Committee so they may act on this matter. The 40,000 ha Wet Jacket area is to be aerially poisoned this month under contract to the government’s Department of Conservation (DoC). This poisoning is not justified as the appropriate scientific or technical measure necessary for the conservation of this site, and would breach New Zealand’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention.
The contractor’s application to DoC (attached) to poison the Wet Jacket area describes a hotspot of biodiversity, home to at least 17 species of endangered birds as well as 25 other species of birds. Six species of lizard have been recorded including the rare Fiordland skink. The invertebrate fauna is described as “not fully explored” and “distinctive and important” (Contract Wild Animal Control, 2019).
The 1080 poison to be used is broad spectrum, affecting organisms that breathe oxygen (ERMA, 2007). It is added to cereal food baits and distributed from hoppers carried beneath helicopters. The distribution process creates fragments (Morgan et al. 2015) and dust (Wright et al., 2002). Native lizards, birds and invertebrates are all known to feed on the cereal bait (ERMA 2007). The poison is highly toxic, readily contaminates despite stringent precautions, travels rapidly in water and up food chains, causes reproductive defects across a vast range of species and has highly variable effects which remain poorly understood, with studies being sparse and of poor quality (ERMA, 2007).
Due to poor monitoring, effects of 1080 poisoning on populations of most NZ native animals are unknown (ERMA, 2007; Whiting-O’Keefe & Whiting-O’Keefe, 2007). Only six species of birds were reported as reliably monitored through 1080 drops. Of those, fernbirds suffered most with an estimated 9% loss of the local population per poisoning (Fairweather et al., 2015). Kea have also been intensively monitored, with the finding that on average 12% of birds are killed per operation (DoC, 2016).
The Application to poison the Wet Jacket area shows significant shortcomings, as follow.
The reason given for poisoning the Wet Jacket area is to “protect the health and integrity of the flora and fauna susceptible to predation by rats, stoats and possums.” It lists animal species it considers particularly in need of protection: bats, kiwi, parakeets, kea and fiordland crested penguins.
These claims of susceptibility are not referenced or supported by scientific observations. In fact, it was concluded twice that predation was not a problem to kea (Jackson, 1969; Elliot & Kemp, 1999). Short-tailed bats were considered relatively safe from predators, being fast and agile, fiercely mobbing intruders and choosing winter roosts that were inaccessible (Lloyd et al., 2005). “Evidence” of predation of long tailed bats was just an observed association between low bat survival and high rat numbers (Pryde et al 2005; O’Donnell et al., 2011). Doc has attributed failures of some of its invasively monitored bird nests to predators, however they are not representative of undisturbed nests (Ellenberg et al., 2015).
Known costs left out of the Application include negative ecological effects from aerial poisoning. In many cases, rat numbers rebound to vast new heights within months (Innes et al., 1995; 2010; Powlesland et al., 1999; Ruscoe et al. 2008; Sweetapple et al., 2006). This effect can decimate prey such as invertebrates (Sweetapple & Nugent, 2007). Re-poisoning of rats is likely to become less and less effective due to the rats learning and developing physical tolerance (Byrom et al., 2013; Mitel, 2016; Pollard, 2016). Thus the Eglinton Valley (also in World Heritage site Fiordland National Park) has just received its fourth aerial poisoning in five years (2014, 2016, 2019, 2020). Despite increasing the intensity of the poisoning for rats in September 2019 (DoC, 2019a) another poisoning was carried out this May.
Mouse numbers usually increase soon after aerial poisoning (Innes et al., 1995; Sweetapple & Nugent, 2007, Ruscoe et al., 2008). The increases in rodents during the months after poisoning create ideal conditions to for stoats to flourish (Byrom et al., 2013). In addition, stoats that survived aerial poisoning were found to switch from eating rats to eating native birds (Murphy et al., 1988).
The Application contains no discussion of the conservation importance of the loss of kea, with previous studies indicating a 12% loss of local birds is expected. DoC claims that kea in remote areas are unlikely to get poisoned, however 9% of marked birds were killed by 1080 in an area chosen by DoC to represent remoteness (Kemp et al., 2016 unpublished). The total number of wild kea left is unknown and possibly less than 1000 ((Bond & Diamond, 1992; Harper, 2012; Roy, 2016).
Issues not addressed
Important issues left out of the Application include how much bait will enter the marine area; what effects there will be of baits, fragments and dust in the littoral zone (e.g. on penguins) and in the productive areas of shallow, still water; what will the effects be of the predicted “zero grazing ungulates” (being the last large grazing animals left); what are the chances of cold weather killing off rats in winter if they are left unpoisoned; should a highly diverse, unexplored ecological community be poisoned to try to make it better; what will be done if pest animal numbers are low, without poisoning.
DoC has a strong track record in misleading, pro-poisoning behaviour. It intrudes on nesting birds, attaches equipment to them and their nests, blames predators for nesting failures, then uses the poor nesting results to justify predator control (e.g. for kea (Kemp et al., 2014, unpublished), mohua (Elliott 1996), kiwi (Waterworth, 2019) and kaka (Moorhouse et al., 2003)). It quotes increased “nesting success” as an indication of a bird population’s positive response to poisoning, but nesting success is likely to increase if a population is culled (Nilsson 1984; Arcese & Smith 1988). “Five minute bird counts” are used by DoC to assess bird numbers. This method is notoriously unreliable (Westbrooke & Powlesland 2005; ERMA 2007; Green & Pryde 2012; Hartley 2012), due to major problems such as bird calls increasing after poisoning as birds try to find their dead partners and family, or search for new company.
DoC’s pro-poisoning bias and lack of scientific honesty are also apparent in its publications. For example a stoat plague that followed DoC’s aerial poisoning at Okarito (Kemp et al., 2015, unpublished) was truncated from the published graph (Kemp et al., 2017), despite this being an important outcome. In another example, in a study on bats after a 1080 operation, the contents of one bat roost tree had spilled onto open ground. Inspection revealed a baby bat with placenta attached, which tested positive for 1080. Other roosts in the study were inspected for dead and dying bats by roost camera “where practical” (Edmonds & Pryde, 2015). The published paper has a re-worded section of the original report that now insinuates all roosts were searched equally for dead babies (Edmonds et al., 2017).
The claim that some Eglinton Valley birds are prospering due to DoC’s 1080 poisoning (Minister of Conservation’s media release 11/4/20) is impossible to make: poison in bait stations and trapping are used to try to control mammals in the Eglinton Valley and any separate effects of 1080 cannot be assessed. Mohua (including some from the Wet Jacket area) were restocked there in 2010, 2015 and 2017.
Due to low rodent densities the Wet Jacket area poisoning was postponed in October 2019 (DoC, 2019c). The poisoning has since been promoted in the media as being needed to kill stoats, on the unscientific basis that local, heavily monitored kiwi chicks haven’t been surviving (Waterworth, 2020). These locally monitored kiwi weren’t even mentioned in the Application. There may be a very low stoat kill rate if there is a lack of poisoned rats for them to eat. If the poisoning proceeds regardless of low pest numbers, this will not be unusual. Makarora was poisoned in 2017 for rats despite low numbers (data accessed 22/3/17 via Official Information Act request); poisoning of Arthurs Pass in 2019 went ahead with no rats (data accessed 8/10/19) (mice were present but 1080 pellets are not usually eaten by mice (Fisher & Airey, 2009).
A fraction of the resources being used to poison the Wet Jacket area could support careful, scientific studies of the biodiversity and ecology of the area before a management plan is decided upon. Where populations of rare organisms are considered in immediate danger, localised, benign management can be applied, such as tree banding and caging, and protecting nesting kiwi and kea from DoC staff.
I trust you will act to prevent the unfounded wholesale poisoning of this precious site.
Dr Joanna Pollard (BSc (Hons), PhD)
See the IUCN reply to Dr Pollard below references.
Arcese, P., Smith, J.M., 1988. Effects of population density and supplemental food on reproduction in song sparrows. Journal of Animal Ecology 57: 119-136.
Bond, A., Diamond, J., 1992. Population estimates of Kea in Arthur’s Pass National Park. Notornis 39: 151-160.
Byrom, A., Banks, P., Dickman, C. & Pech, R., 2013. Will reinvasion stymie large-scale eradication of invasive mammals in New Zealand? Kararehe Kino 21: 6-7.
Contract Wild Animal Control, 2019b. Completed DoC Application form for predator control in the Wet Jacket Area. 34 pp.
DoC, 2016. Aerial 1080 in kea habitat. Code of Practice. NZ Department of Conservation Unclassified document. 24 pp.
DoC, 2019a. Application for DoC permission to use vertebrate VTAs assessment report: Clinton and Eglinton catchments. 11 pp.
Edmonds, H., Pryde, M., 2015. Eglinton Valley lesser short-tailed bat monitoring programme 2014/2015. DOCDM 1568082 15 pp.
Edmonds, H., Pryde, M., O’Donnell, C., 2017. Survival of PIT-tagged lesser short-tailed bats (Mystacina tuberculata) through an aerial 1080 pest control. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 17: 186-192.
Ellenberg, U., Edwards, E., Mattern, T., Hiscock, J.A., Wilson, R. & Edmonds, H., 2015. Assessing the impact of nest searches on breeding birds – a case study on Fiordland crested penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus). New Zealand Journal of Ecology 39: 231-244.
Elliott, G., Kemp, J., 1999. Conservation ecology of kea (Nestor notabilis). WWF-NZ Final Report 1 August 1999, 64 pp.
Hartley, LJ 2012. Five-minute bird counts in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 36: 268-278.
Innes, J., Kelly, D., Overton, J., Gilles, C. 2010. Predation and other factors currently limiting New Zealand forest birds. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 34: 86-114.
Innes, J., Warburton, B., Williams, D., Speed, H., Bradfield, P. 1995. Large-scale poisoning of ship rats (Rattus rattus) in indigenous forests of the North Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 19: 5-17.
Jackson, J.R., 1969. What do keas die of? Notornis 16: 33-44.
Kemp, J., Orr-Walker, T., Elliott, G., Adams, N., Fraser, J., Roberts, L., Mosen, C., Amey, J., Barrett, B., Makan, T., 2014, unpublished. Benefits to kea (Nestor notabilis) populations from invasive mammal control via aerial 1080 baiting. Department of Conservation. 29 pp.
Kemp, J., Cunninghame, F., Barrett, B., Makan, T., Fraser, J., Mosen, C., 2015, unpublished. Effect of an aerial 1080 operation on the productivity of the kea (Nestor notabilis) in a West Coast rimu forest. Department of Conservation report. 15 pp.
Kemp, J., Hunter, C., Mosen, C., Elliott, G., 2016, unpublished. Draft: Kea population responses to aerial 1080 treatment in South Island landscapes. Department of Conservation, 14 pp.
Kemp, J., Mosen, C., Elliott, G., Hunter, C., 2018. Effects of the aerial application of 1080 to control pest mammals on kea reproductive success, New Zealand Journal of Ecology 42: 158-168.
King, 1984. Immigrant Killers. Introduced Predators and the conservation of birds in New Zealand. Oxford University Press.
Moorhouse, R., Greene, T., Dilks, P., Powlesland, R., Moran, L., Taylor, G., Jones, A., Knegtmans, J., Wills, D., Pryde, M., Fraser, I., August, A., August, C. 2003: Control of introduced mammalian predators improves kaka Nestor meridionalis breeding success: reversing the decline of a threatened New Zealand parrot. Biological Conservation 110: 33–44.
Morgan, D., Hickling, G. 2000. Techniques Used for Poisoning Possums, in TL Montague (ed. The brushtail possum: biology, impact and management, Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, pp. 143-153.
Murphy, E., Clapperton, B., Bradfield, P., Speed, H. 1998. Effects of rat-poisoning on abundance and diet of mustelids in New Zealand podocarp forests. NZ J Zoology 25: 315-328.
Nilsson, S.G., 1984. The evolution of nest-site selection among hole-nesting birds: The importance of nest predation and competition. Ornis Scandinavica 15: 167-175.
Pollard. J.C., 2016. Aerial 1080 poisoning in New Zealand: Reasons for concern.
Powlesland, R., Knegtmans, J., Marshall, I. 1999. Costs and benefits of aerial 1080 possum control operations using carrot baits to North Island Robins (Petroica australis longipes), Pureora Forest Park. NZ J Ecology 23: 149-159.
Roy, E.A., 2016. New Zealand kea, the world’s only alpine parrot, faces extinction
Westbrooke, I.M., Powlesland, R.G., 2005. Comparison of impact between carrot and cereal 1080 baits on tomtits (Petroica macrocephala). New Zealand Journal of Ecology 29: 143-147.
Whiting O’Keefe, P., Whiting-O’Keefe, Q., Aerial monofluoroactate in New Zealand’s forests. An appraisal of the scientific evidence. 89 pp.
Wright, G., Booth, L., Morriss, G., Potts, M., Brown, L., Eason, C. 2002. Assessing potential environmental contamination from compound 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate) in bait dust during possum control operations. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Science 45: 57-65.
4) Nelson Lakes National Park, Lake Rotoiti, Mt Robert and the headwaters of Lake Rotoroa, 34,000 hectares (notified by VCS Marlborough, July 1 to August 31, but not yet poisoned)
5) Mt Te Kinga forests, Lake Brunner, West Coast, 3,700 hectares, (notified, RNZ news item 29 May, but not yet poisoned)
6) Punakaiki, West Coast, 43,000 hectares (notified by VCS Greymouth, but not yet poisoned)
7) Buller South, West Coast ( Paparoa Range as well as foothills and Pakihi terraces between the Buller River and Four Mile Road south of Charleston), 18,500 hectares (notified, OSPRI, July 2020)
8) Radiant Range and Mokihinui, West Coast, 72,460 hectares ( notified, OSPRI, July 2020)
TOTAL HECTARES (including Waitutu) = 390,000 hectares and 780 tonnes of 1080 poison baits.
How could I have been so wrong?! I seriously thought a pandemic and its ensuing economic chaos would put an end to aerial 1080 poison. I thought the government might have a last blast but this is something else. Jacinda’s Labour Government has turned 1080 poisoning and trapping into a make-work scheme. The only income this scheme makes is from the TAXPAYER!!!
I think the only thing that will end aerial 1080 poison and this mad desire to kill everything introduced into our forests will be nuclear war.
Photo – Lake Brunner, West Coast, South Island from ‘100% Pure New Zealand’, 🤣,Tourism NZ
Thanks to the GrafBoys once again for their brilliant research & tireless work in exposing the dangers of 1080 poison. Visit their TV Wild website for more of their work. Particularly, a must watch is their award winning doco called Poisoning Paradise.
Canterbury University toxicologist, Professor Ian Shaw, discusses the toxicity of 1080 poison, and also the mysterious mis-diagnosis of the three family members from Putaruru who were reportedly poisoned by botulism …
I was sent recently a NZ Herald article about NZ’s Dept of Conservation (DoC) teaming up with Ngāti Porou to protect the Raukumara Forest Park:
“Iwi including Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Te Ehutu, Ngāi Tai, Whakatōhea and Te Aitanga-ā-Mahaki, and affiliated hapū, have occupied and continued to maintain mana whenua on all flanks of the ranges.
DoC, which administers the park, was working on a co-ordinated approach regarding its management.
The last large-scale possum control operation was 20 years ago involving aerial application of 1080 pesticide. The region was free of tuberculosis (TB), which was partly why there had been little 1080 focus. There had also been strong local opposition.”
On reading the article I was reminded of Reihana Robinson’s well researched book on 1080 use in NZ called ‘The Killing Nation’. In brief she describes what she terms DoC’s ‘take a Māori into the bush’ strategy outlined in a Landcare Research paper by Chrys Horn & Margaret Kilvington titled ‘Maori and 1080’. The paper investigates how to gain iwi ‘agreement’ to use 1080. It’s about ‘building trust’ they write as ‘research is, by itself, not sufficient to allay community & iwi concerns.’
They are clearly aware and acknowledge that ‘Iwi concerns are substantial’ citing ‘loss of native birds, poisoning of deer and dogs, the potential effect on water supplies and human health, and how poison disturbs spiritual principles.’
The authors, says Robinson, “focus on mind control. They don’t call it mind control. They use the term ‘perceived control’ and it is this underlying psychological construct that must be communicated to ‘help’ Maori communities adapt to change and adversity”. How to get agreement on the use of 1080? … don’t focus on the merits of 1080, convince them of the “merits of pest control or eradicating Tb”.
Robinson describes Horn & Kilvington’s ‘paternalistic clanger’ … “that ‘it is the element of choice that is important rather than the quality of the options’.” They proceed to cite examples where local iwi agreed to 1080 without public outcry … ie ‘how to sell poison to Maori communities’.
Horn & Kilvington then stoop to the ultimate tactic of LYING by claiming there IS an antidote to 1080 poisoning. Patently untrue says Robinson.
Yes we environmentalists know that there is no antidote to 1080. That’s not rocket science at all.
“At a time when communities are increasingly negative about the use of 1080, time and resources must be allowed for consultation processes” say Horn & Kilvington. They are concerned that DoC staff do not “recognise the difference between information and consultation”.
(Note, environmentalists who have attended these consultation meetings will concur that the people with genuine concerns are not heard and the meetings are steered by the person at the front to effectively exclude them & to achieve a predetermined desired outcome. This manipulative method is called the Delphi technique, a method used also by councils when they ‘consult’ with you, see below the article).*
Proceeding to the main point here … Robinson describes “the critical role of Urewera Maori within DoC disclosed in the Landcare paper”… “DoC tried to give ‘all the community groups involved a high level of perceived control over the possibility of aerial drops in the area’.
So DoC transported Maori into the Uruwera bush to show “damage caused by possums” and their effect on “birdlife”. DoC’s ‘take a Maori into the bush’ strategy did not work on Moehau in 2013.’ The lunches and the helicopter tours failed as described …
…then DoC went ahead & dropped the poison anyway.
Are you getting the gist now of DoC’s ‘consultation’ and what it really means?
I am going to add a pdf file here of this particular chapter of Robinson’s book so you can read it for yourself. (She did give me permission to quote and to reproduce the chapter for your perusal). Perhaps you may be interested to purchase her book to read the entire scope of concern environmentalists both Maori & Pakeha alike have about the use of this Class 1A Ecotoxin in NZ’s environment. And about how DoC ‘get around’ Māori opposition and the need to consult.
Here is a link to the pdf of the chapter by Reihana Robinson:
HUMAN BEINGS FALL BETWEEN THE CRACKS WHEN IT COMES TO 1080 POISON
by Carol Sawyer
I did a post earlier today about the Ministry of Primary Industries’ Official Information Act response to an OIA request. Their response (see below) quoted the Animal Welfare Act. The AWA said “If a non-target animal is killed despite using 1080 in accordance with the approved controls, then there is no offence committed under the AWA (section 30A (5))”.
With regard to the AWA comment Peter Marshall pointed out, on ‘Upper Clutha Community Notices’ Facebook page, that “… that includes humans then.”
I thought Peter was onto something, (well, wouldn’t you ?) and I wrote a Facebook post about it. However later, when looking at the section regarding “interpretations” in the AWA I found that, for the purposes of the Animal Welfare Act, humans are not classed as animals.
So I deleted my post. Apologies to those who had shared it.
But that is pretty interesting really, isn’t it? The Animal Welfare Act says we are not animals. What are we then?
Also, if as a human being you suspect you have suffered 1080 poisoning you can’t get tested either, despite many ‘Dept of Conservation’ signs at 1080 poison drops saying that if you suspect poisoning you should contact the National Poisons Centre.
See my conversation with the National Poisons Centre here:
The said kea will be undergoing post mortems. We wait with baited breath for the outcome, and can likely be sure that they, like the Sth Is North Beach rats, weren’t poisoned by 1080 it being mere coincidence their demise (like the North Beach rats & other various items of marine life) just happened to follow an aerial drop of the deadly Class 1A Ecotoxin. After all 1080 is ‘not very harmful to humans’ even NZ children are taught at school, and let’s remember it only targets pests like stoats, rats and possums. Well, so we are told. And in this case well they say it could be the public’s fault for feeding them in the first place. Doesn’t make sense that does it? If only pests are targeted, then it’s not working. They can’t have it both ways. EWR
DOC threats director Amber Bill said there was a concern the tracked kea may have been exposed to human food around the tramping huts in the valley, potentially making them more vulnerable to picking up 1080 cereal baits.
“While we are confident that predator control operations benefit kea populations at large, it’s upsetting to lose six birds.”
The 1080 drop followed the biggest forest mast in 40 years, which fuelled rodent plagues and created a spike in stoat numbers that posed a serious threat to ground-nesting kea and other native wildlife, she said.
Previous research found kea had increased survival and nesting success when 1080 was used to control rats and stoats.
While the risk of 1080 to kea in remote areas was low, it increased with birds that had leaned to scavenge for human food.
MORE THAN 250 DOGS KILLED BY 1080 POISON IN ONE HIT !
( Chatto Creek, Central Otago, NZ – ca. 1957 )
Story by Murray Ellis, via Karen Hore, posted by Carol Sawyer
Murray writes :
“Back in Chatto Creek in about 1957 the local Rabbit Board were dropping carrot slices laced with ‘1080’ poison out of Tiger Moths (aeroplanes) somewhere around Clyde. Stan Lewis was the boss and somehow his daughters gave their pet horse some of these left over carrots. The horse died. Stan, still not knowing what killed the horse, cut it up. He was in control of Rabbiters who had about 300 rabbiting dogs. He dropped some fresh meat off to each Rabbiter over a 50 km radius.
We knew Dan Engstrom and he had about 60 dogs at Chatto Creek. We got back from rabbiting and saw a large slab of fresh meat outside the front door. The dogs had not had fresh meat in a while, so Dan let 60 dogs attack the meat. Some just sniffed and walked away. Over 48 hours most of those dogs went crazy, frothing at the mouth, some strangled themselves on their chains.
We were 10-12 year old kids at the time ,and it left a horrible memory to see those dogs suffer. Only about 8 of those dogs survived . Other Rabbiters lost most of their dogs as well. So a simple accident can kill a horse, and the poison in the horse meat kill over 250 dogs. Even in the 1950’s they didn’t know what they where dealing with, and even now they probably still don’t know what they are playing with.”
On 11th and 12th February, 2020, 1080 poison was dropped by helicopter in the Matukituki Valley, Mt Aspiring National Park. The loading zone was on Mt Aspiring Station, in a paddock beside a public road. Three helicopters belonging to Way to Go Heliservices Ltd, and two JJ Nolan Transport Ltd trucks were there, as well as support staff and security.
1) Spillage…..in photos here you can see baits have been dropped on the grass (grass later to be eaten by stock, no doubt) and two workers are picking them up and tossing them into an already overloaded hopper.
2) Crazy behaviour by helicopter company…..the helicopter pilot in ZK-HKW has bare legs and face and hands!!! What part of ‘deadly Class 1A ecotoxin’ do these guys not understand? Do they think skull-and-crossbones signs are just for pirate ships?
3) The food chain….. a mob of sheep are driven past the drop as it is happening, along the road beside the loading zone, film crew in attendance. I wonder if they filmed the poison operation!
4) “Baits might sting when they hit you” ….tourists and trampers who had called into the DoC office prior to coming up the valley were surprised to see a 1080 operation underway. They reported that DoC Wanaka had not informed them that would be happening. I was told that, when asked about this, a DoC staffer at the drop said it was OK to be inside a 1080 drop but the baits might hurt a bit if they hit them.
This has been the standard DoC Wanaka stance since the 2014 operation it seems. Tourists visiting the DoC Wanaka office on the day before the December 2, 2014 aerial 1080 drop on the Matukituki catchment reported to me that they were told they could go into the drop zone on the day of the 1080 drop but that “the baits weigh as much as a $2 coin” and might sting if they hit them. DoC Wanaka even stated this in an article in the Otago Daily Times in 2014! https://www.odt.co.nz/…/1080-poison-drop-matukituki-valleys…
5) No proper signage….there were NO poison warning signs up on the day of the drop… only the map of the drop zone and a sign explaining DoC’s ‘Battle for Our Birds’ programme.
6) Hiding ID…..At least one of the security guards present had covered his ID number with tape so it couldn’t be seen…. more on that later in a separate post.
PS: Please note this is not the area where female tramper, Stephanie Simpson, sadly lost her life recently… as some are speculating. My thoughts are with her UK family. It has been so sad to think of their receiving that first phone call that their daughter was missing, and now the worst news of all.
DoC WANAKA STILL HAVE SAME CARELESS ATTITUDE TO 1080 POISON THAT THEY DID IN 2014!! MATUKITUKI VALLEY, MT ASPIRING NATIONAL PARK
“While the toxic pellets are targeting rats, stoats and possums, they each weigh the same as a $2 coin and a department spokeswoman advised park concessionaires yesterday they presented a danger to people on the ground.
”Therefore, for safety reasons, it is strongly recommended that people avoid entering the pest control area while the helicopter operation is taking place,” she said.” Otago Daily Times, 24 November, 2014
The baits might hurt if they hit you ?! Note the ODT article doesn’t say who “SHE” is, but one can presume it is DoC Wanaka spokesperson at the time, Annette Grieve.
This article was indeed verified when tourists reported to me, in the days prior to the aerial 1080 toxic bait drop on December 2, 2014, that they had called into the local DoC office and were told they could go into the drop zone on the day of the 1080 drop but that “the baits weigh as much as a $2 coin and might hurt if they hit you”.
MATUKITUKI VALLEY AERIAL 1080 DROP, (11th and 12th February, 2020)
The story is still the same. Again, in last week’s 1080 drop of 11th and 12th February, 2020, tourists reported that they had called into the DoC Wanaka office before coming into the Matukituki Valley and were not told a 1080 poison drop was happening. Joel Lund asked a DoC staffer at the loading zone about it, and he repeated DoC Wanaka’s party line…. that the baits might sting if they hit you.
No poison warning signage was in place. Is this a policy of the Wanaka area ? The same thing happened at last year’s OSPRI 1080 poison drop at Luggate… no 1080 poison warning signage!
Photo: Alpine Helicopters Ltd of Wanaka at aerial 1080 poison operation, Matukituki Valley, Mt Aspiring National Park, 2014
Thanks to the Graf brothers for this video. It is fact not fiction note. For all those who deny the by kill and particularly the endangered birds. Go figure. Scatter a Class 1A Ecotoxin around like lollies and what do you expect? It kills everything that breathes & cannot target specific pests as we’re told. See Dr Meriel Watts‘ info on that. EWR
An article here from psychologytoday.com, Mark Bekoff PhD, on the use of 1080 in NZ. Use would be a polite word given NZ has been literally slathered with this deadly poison for over 50 years. It’s killing everything and not just pests. EWR
“New Zealand’s former Commissioner of the Environment—1080 is moderately humane.”
“It is my view based on careful analysis of the evidence that not only should the use of 1080 continue (including in aerial operations) to protect our forests, but that we should use more of it.” —Jan Wright, New Zealand’s Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (2007-2017)
New Zealand continues to have major animal welfare issues. A growing number of people are extremely concerned with their war on wildlife, the goal of which is to kill all invasive “pests,” including rats, possums, stoats, and other invasive animals by 2050, using the horrific poison 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate)—which also kills numerous non-target nonhuman animals (animals) including cows and native kea—along with other brutal methods including trapping, snaring, shooting, and possum stomping.Michael Morris rightly notes that in this war “there are issues with the recruitment of children for killing, humiliation of combatants, questionable economic motives for the ‘war,’ deception by government agencies, lack of consultation, a lack of consideration of alternatives, the use of excessive suffering, and unrealistic expectations.”
I’ve listed a number of essays in the reference section that deal with what’s happening in a place that many people call “a country of peaceful people.” A native New Zealander told me, “Millions of nonhumans numerous humans would surely disagree with this picture of the country I deeply love. The government is recklessly destroying countless lives and gorgeous landscapes.”
New Zealand’s continuing war on wildlife is one of the most inhumane assaults on nonhuman animals and a wide variety of pristine landscapes, air, and water. It’s clear that public safety has been put at risk by the use of 1080, including reprehensible aerial poisoning operations. I continually receive emails from people who are appalled at the barbaric way in which millions of animals are killed, and beautiful environments are destroyed by environmental poisons, including some messages from people who are all for getting rid of non-native species, but who are deeply concerned and put off by the brutal and inhumane slaughter of these sentient beings.
On page 52 of this biased and uninformed report, we read,
“A recent report commissioned by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) rated the relative humaneness of 1080 and other pest control techniques used in New Zealand.159 The results of the NAWAC report form the basis of the humaneness assessments in this report. The NAWAC report rated 1080 as moderately humane.” 1
In a review of the toxicology and ecotoxicology of 1080, Dr. Charles Eason and his colleagues note that compared to the negative ecological impacts of 1080, “the animal welfare implications have received comparatively less attention.” They also write, “In carnivores, and notably in dogs, central nervous system disturbances are marked, and poisoned dogs run uncontrollably, retch and vomit, and appear distressed and agitated with prolonged involuntary muscle contractions exacerbated by convulsions and seizures prior to death from respiratory failure.” Reading the above once made me ill, so I caution you that what happens to animals who ingest 1080 isn’t “pretty,” as a number of people, including a middle-schooler, told me.
“Killing with kindness,” a phrase put forth by Nicola Toki, the Threatened Species Ambassador of New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DoC), is a misleading and troublesome oxymoron that covers up the hate and violence with which possums and other animals are vilified as “the enemy.” It’s a perversion of the word “kindness.”
The bottom line for welfarists is that they’re trying to make life marginally better for animals in the arenas in which animals are exploited, leaving unquestioned the human practices that cause tremendous animal suffering. Welfarism is a salve for our conscience.
So, this means that even if there are millions of so-called pests, it’s not OK to kill them, because each of their individual lives matters because they are alive. They’re not unfeeling objects with whom we can do whatever we like. Each and every individual cares about how they’re treated. Nonetheless, Dr. Wright and others clearly think it’s just fine to intentionally do things that they know will cause deep pain and suffering.
Calling 1080 “moderately humane” is humane-washing taken to the extreme.
Would 1080 supporters give 1080 to dogs?
It’s also useful to ask those who favor using 1080 if they would give it to dogs and other companion animals. I know some would, however reprehensible this might be. Dogs and cats can harm other animals—they can be “pests” according to some people—and cause environmental damage, so it’s a fair question.
If some people wouldn’t expose these animals to 1080 and other environmental poisons, then why would they allow other sentient beings to experience 1080-induced pain and death? While there are no systematic accounts of dog poisoning due to 1080, around 254 dogs were reported to have been killed by 1080 between 1960 and 1976. Dogs are extremely susceptible to being poisoned.
Along these lines, Dr. Wright writes, “It must be extremely upsetting to lose a cherished dog to 1080, but only eight dogs have died this way in the last four years. The sad reality is that many many more will die on roads each year, and no one is proposing a moratorium on traffic. It is important to keep risks in perspective.”
This is easy for her to say, but people who lose dogs or other animals to 1080 don’t like it one bit, and they’re deeply affected by their losses. Eight dogs are eight too many. For an update on the number of dogs who are actually harmed or killed by 1080 please see note 3. They aren’t spared from the horrific effects of 1080, but some people like to downplay the real numbers.
New Zealand can easily become a global model for banning the use of 1080 and other horrific environmental poisons and adopting nonlethal methods for dealing with the problems at hand. And, educators should stop teaching children that it’s OK to harm and to kill other animals because this also doesn’t work and establishes a horrific model for future generations. It’s good that not all youngsters want to partake in killing for fun and games.
I look forward to New Zealand and other countries replacing violent and ineffective wars on other animals with respect and compassion for who these nonhuman beings truly are. It’s the decent thing to do. Clearly, declaring other animals to be sentient beings means absolutely nothing to those people who continue to brutalize millions of animals in what some ironically call “a country of peaceful people.”
1) Jan Wright also writes, “The symptoms poisoned animals display also differ. Possums stop eating within an hour of consuming 1080, become lethargic and die between 5 and 40 hours later, depending on the dose consumed.160 Rats can show pain-related behaviours such as increased grooming and stomach scratching, altered breathing, un-coordination and convulsions…Herbivores usually die of heart failure, whereas carnivores are more likely to suffer convulsions and respiratory failure, for possums it lasts between five and forty hours to die.” Wright also acknowledges that 1080 may kill other animals than introduced predators, such as deer and dogs (who may ‘go through states of fitting and uncoordinated movement to difficulty in breathing, lethargy, and paralysis. Vomiting can also occur.”162 (The numbers refers to references in this report.)
2) In practice, animal welfare isn’t much concerned with the plight of individual animals, and “good animal welfare” isn’t really good enough for the billions of non-human animals who are used in a wide variety of human-controlled venues, ranging from so-called factory farms, to laboratories, zoos and circuses, to pets, to wild animals and conservation efforts both in captivity and in more natural settings.
3) “A lethal dose of 1080 for a dog is extremely small compared to other mammals and birds, as seen from LD50 doses (Table 2), and survival of invertebrates exposed to, or dosed with, 1080 (Eason et al. 1993a, b; Booth & Wickstrom 1999). Dog deaths from 1080 poisoning creates enormous negative publicity around the use of 1080 in New Zealand. A comprehensive record of dog poisoning incidents throughout all of the years that 1080 has been used in New Zealand has not been kept. However, 254 dogs were reported killed by 1080 during the period 1960–1976 (Rammell & Fleming 1978), thus reinforcing the knowledge that dogs are very susceptible to secondary poisoning by 1080 (e.g. Eason et al. 2011; Goh et al. 2005). Working farm dogs and hunting dogs are especially susceptible, often because they are in or near operational areas.” Link to paper here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03014223.2012.740488
The ‘official’ figure of 8 dogs is an insult. One small vet survey alone found 64 dogs presented at vets with 1080 poisoning. As above, 256 reported killed during 1960-1976. Vet toxicology reporting puts the figure in the thousands. If you think about how many unreported dogs are killed out in the bush or on farms where the owners never get to the vet on time or can’t afford to pay a vet to investigate the death, the true figure of pet and working dogs killed by 1080 poison in New Zealand alone would be staggering. Many people talk about the dogs that they lost to 1080 on social media and these were never reported. It’s a tragedy in this country that those who think the poison makes more birds will say to these people they should control their dogs better and it is their fault alone. The truth is that 1080 has fins, wings, legs, and it does not stay in designated ‘drop zones’. See the story of Lulu below.
I doubt the historical data on dog deaths from 1080 is very accurate as there is no obligation to report them.
As I may have mentioned previously the New Zealand Veterinary Association conducted a survey on treatment outcomes for 1080 poisoned dogs at the request of MPI. MPI anticipated the survey would show 1080 poisoned dogs can be treated successfully. The limited and (selected?) results revealed a very poor prognosis from a surprisingly low number reported cases over the 10 year period of the survey.
My experience on the Coast was that dogs died before they could be brought into the vet clinic. My only successful cases (2) involved secondary poisoning from possum carcasses washed onto farmland long after the aerial application. Never from primary ingestion of a bait.
These video clips document, and present evidence from aerial 1080 poison operations undertaken around New Zealand
Some essays with numerous references about New Zealand’s war on wildlife.