Note: 1. “The full results of these independent tests are on Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa’s website and copies will be sent to relevant government agencies and MPs.”
2. The link to the results has disappeared once already (showing an error sign). Please alert me in the comments or the contact page if this happens again.
Press Release on behalf of:
Independent Testing Shows Wildlife Poisoned by 1080 (Sodium Monofluoroacetate)
Two non-profit environmental groups in New Zealand have today published independent test results indicating that 1080 poison was the likely cause of death at an environmental catastrophe in Westport, New Zealand. On November 9th, 2019, one week after a Department of Conservation (DoC) aerial 1080 poison operation 140 kms upstream, dead wildlife washed down the flooded Buller River. Hundreds of potentially toxic carcasses of rats, a goat, birds and numerous aquatic species were strewn across the public beach at Westport.
The full results of tests undertaken by an independent laboratory, using the latest methodology (see note below) and equipment, include samples taken from 5 rats, 1 weka, 2 shearwaters, 1 starfish and 6 mussels. The samples from 4 of the 5 rats tested positive for three chemical markers of 1080 poison, including the toxic chemical, fluorocitrate. This was also the case for both the shearwater birds. The starfish and weka also tested positive for fluorocitrate. There were no traces of 1080 detected in the mussels. The tests included stomach and intestines of samples extracted from carcasses collected from the beach and Buller River by volunteers. For the security and safety of the independent chemists involved, the identity of the laboratory has been withheld.
These findings contradict claims by DoC on Wednesday, which stated 1080 was not found in any of the wildlife tested. This raises serious questions about the methodology employed by the laboratories commissioned to undertake DoC’s testing. It appears from their lab reports (published on DoC’s website) that the samples were only tested for the presence of the active ingredient, fluoroacetate. But as Prof Shaw, toxicologist from the University of Canterbury pointed out, because of the delay in testing this would have already been broken down into other substances, for example, fluorocitrate. Scientifically valid toxicological testing requires the most up-to-date, and accurate methods to be used, and in the case of testing for 1080, that means analysis of the metabolic chemical markers of the poison from a variety of sources within the carcass. There are other serious discrepancies in DoC’s claims and associated toxicology reports. The number of rats tested is inconsistent, and in the pathology report of the weka it was noted “both lungs exuding frothy pink fluid”, a common symptom in animals that have been victims of 1080 poisoning.
The full results of these independent tests will be made publicly available on Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa’s website and copies sent to relevant government agencies and MPs. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa and Clean Green NZ Trust, along with their volunteer supporters and many thousands of concerned New Zealand citizens, are calling on the government to act now to protect public health by initiating an immediate independent investigation into this tragic incident and stopping all aerial 1080 poison operations before more wildlife are harmed.
Note to Journalists: Sodium Monofluoroacetate (Compound 1080) is a highly toxic, inhumane, synthetic metabolic poison. It has no antidote. It is banned in many countries. The sublethal effects of the poison on humans are unknown, however it’s a proven endocrine disruptor and impacts upon the body’s major organs. It is manufactured in the USA by Tull Chemicals and transported to New Zealand’s two Government-funded poison bait factories, where it is mixed with cereal or other substances perceived to be attractive to ‘pest’ species (e.g. rats and possums). Tonnes of poison baits are regularly and systematically distributed via helicopters over thousands of hectares of New Zealand’s land and waterways – including drinking water catchments. For over 65 years of this practice New Zealanders have voiced their increasing concern about the negative impact of this indiscriminate poisoning, not only on wildlife, but on public health too, from contamination of the food chain. To date, there has been no independent studies of the claimed ‘effectiveness’ of this policy and no epidemiological research has been undertaken
NB Lab is accredited with ISO9001; 17025; 27000 QMS
Methodology is based upon the Pitt protocol (2015): biological material was removed from the frozen carcass, then an accurately weighed portion was homogenized using a polytron 3000 into extraction solvent. This solvent liquor was then cleaned-up and the cleaned pregnant solvent analyzed using HPLC with both Time of Flight, linear ion trap mass spectroscopy and fluorescence to check against standards containing fluoroacetate and fluorocitrate. The method was checked for repeatability and linearity. FT-IR and Raman were used to check for the presence of green dye acid 9, as that is only used in the bait pellets and is not a naturally occurring substance at detectable limits. Complete and robust Chain of Custody with SoPs available upon request.
LINK TO FULL RESULTS OF THE TESTS: http://floraandfaunaaotearoa.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/Lab-ReportWestport.pdf
Images below: extracts of the some of the rat, weka and starfish toxicology reports:
Remember folk, this is from the same establishment that in 2006 lost a young deceased woman’s heart on its way for 1080 testing. The same establishment that failed to test the poisoned Waikato family for 1080 in the required time frame as an initially responding MD recommended. The same establishment that is still getting around to providing answers to the two South Island picnicking women who fell ill after being showered with 1080 pellets in 2014. The same establishment that is okay with there having been no studies done regarding the health risks of 1080 on the human foetus. The same establishment that retired MD Charles Baycroft says does not allow MDs to look for evidence of poisoning.
Note also: they did not test the marine life. Octopus, squid, crabs, crayfish? The actual food people who fish will be eating.
Do you really believe the authenticity of their test results folks?
The thing is as the aforementioned MD has warned us, there is never any evidence of 1080 poisoning because the MOH does not allow the evidence to be looked for. Period. No one will ever know he says, if you die of 1080 poisoning.
So, do bear in mind the following when going about your daily lives or enjoying a holiday in NZ:
The NZ authorities do not practice the precautionary principle with the spreading of 1080 poison. In fact they are now legally allowed to drop it into your waterways without the previously required consents, even though the manufacturer’s warning says take care not to drop it into the waterways. Whilst they continue to claim it is harmless, there is much independent research that says otherwise. (See 1080science for further independent info). In light of that, in my opinion it is safer to follow the precautionary principle, that is, proceed as if there were a possible risk to your health rather than assume there is none. Since 1080 is a known teratogen I believe it is particularly important for pregnant mothers or even those who think they may be or who could be pregnant, to distance themselves from an area where 1080 is being distributed, particularly aerially because of the drift of the dust over long distances. Stay safe people by taking your own precautions. EWR
You can read about DoC’s testing in the article below by Radio NZ. And do search for other 1080 articles in ‘categories’ (left of page) … you’ll be surprised at what you’ll read that mainstream media isn’t talking about.
TIMELINE : DoC’s ‘RATGATE’ AT NORTH BEACH, WESTPORT – INDEPENDENT LAB TEST RESULTS TODAY CONFIRM DEATHS “ALMOST CERTAINLY” 1080 POISON
by Carol Sawyer
1 – 3 November, 2019 – The Dept of Conservation aerially drops 104 tonnes of 1080 poison baits into the Maruia River catchment, to kill rats. This catchment feeds into the Buller River and out to sea at Westport.
8 November — A Westport local spots numerous dead creatures (rats, birds, marine life) on North Beach, Westport, at the mouth of the Buller River, after heavy rain.
9 November – Locals collect a trailer-load of 680 dead rats, a goat, octopods, skates, sole, starfish, crabs, barracuda, monkfish, crayfish ( all bottom feeders which could have eaten 1080 baits washed to sea) and seabirds from North Beach and ask DoC for assistance.
Doc dig hole in the sand and bury potentially toxic load on the beach. Freedom campers move elsewhere.
Buller District Council announces, on behalf of DoC, that the aerial 1080 drop at Springs Junction the previous week (Maruia catchment) “may have contributed to the problem”, and advises caution.
11 November – DoC, now moving into damage control, changes its story. On Prime TV News, West Coast Operations Director Mark Davies says ‘Doc thinks it’s unlikely the rats were poisoned by 1080 in a recent drop, then washed out of the hills by heavy rain. “I just can’t imagine that the two are connected”, he said.’
To Newshub, Davies said “… reports of dead fish and birds – along with the rats – are not consistent with the way 1080 is understood to work.”
However ‘One News’ hadn’t quite caught up with the new fairy story and said “”The Department of Conservation (DOC) said they may be victims of a recent 1080 drop 140 kilometres away in the Lewis Pass National Reserve.”
Also on 11 November, more dead rats and dead muttonbirds are discovered on a beach 8 kms north of Westport, seagulls are seen picking dead rats out of the sea at Waimangaroa Beach 17 kms north of Westport, and further reports come in of dead creatures found at Punakaiki and elsewhere..
12 November – “DOC’s West Coast regional director of operations Mark Davies said the 1080 theory was however just that – a theory – and highly unlikely.” TVNZ News
13 November – DoC’s Buller Operations Manager, Bob Dickson, clutching at straws now, announces a brand new DoC theory – The rats were committing suicide. They had run out of food and were all jumping into the rivers and rafting, dead, down to the beaches.
15 November – First independent laboratory test results returned. Laboratory scientists’ professional conclusion is that the deaths of the beach animals tested were almost certainly caused by 1080 poison.
Greymouth Star, 12 November, 2019. By Laura MillsAn angling group today warned people not to eat any trout caught downstream of the Maruia 1080 poison drop, after 680 rat carcases were washed up on North Beach at Westport at the weekend. The Department of Conservation is currently awaiting the results of toxicology tests on the rats, and some birds and fish also found dead on the beach.
The rats are believed to have been swept down the Buller River after the aerial poison drop a week ago was followed by torrential rain in the headwaters.
Health authorities say that because the rivers are still in flood, no one will be catching sports fish. However, NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers president, veterinarian Dr Peter Trolove, said people should not eat trout downstream of Maruia for some time.
He called for more research on the effects of 1080 on fish. “Early studies were not conducted for long enough,” Dr Trolove said.
Trout could consume a reasonable dose and not show clinical signs of the toxin, he said.
“I would urge extreme caution,” he said to anglers.
Dr Trolove said the Government advice to wait a week after a 1080 drop was based on Cawthron Institute tests, which had fed the trout under half a pellet to replicate bykill.
However, he had seen trout taking full pellets. He personally had caught a trout in South Westland more than three months after a winter 1080 drop, and the fish was “blue in its gut” from the poison.
West Coast medical officer of health Dr Cheryl Brunton, who signs off on all 1080 operations, said today the rivers were in flood and no one would be catching fish anyway.
She noted it was not yet known what had killed the rats. “It will be interesting to see what the results are.”
DOC South Island operations director Mark Davies said trout were known to eat mice, but not rats, which were typically much bigger than mice.
If people had concerns, they should follow Ministry for Primary Industries advice to anglers to avoid eating trout from water ways in a 1080 operation area for seven days after the operation. The aerial poison operation in the Maruia valley was completed on November 3. “People need to take a precautionary approach with dogs, which are susceptible to poisoning from 1080. With their propensity to scavenge, people do need to be careful and keep their dogs super vised on leads or keep dogs away from affected beaches until the results of the toxicology tests come back,” Mr Davies said. People should also be cautious when handling dead rats. “If they do contain toxin, naturally occurring bacteria will break this down over time as the carcases disintegrate — there is no threat to human health.” In 2014, DOC issued warnings after the independent Cawthron research found the food safety risk from fish was higher than expected. Two years later, MPI advised a seven-day stand-down. Alan Simmons from the NZ Outdoors Party said today thousands of “poison laden time bombs” had been swept 140km downstream in Buller. “There are likely to be rotting and poisoned animal bodies all the way down the Buller River, ready to kill family pets, moreporks, trout, seagulls and any other creature that eats the carcases,” Mr Simmons said. In 2017 deer carcases were found on a beach in Southland, poisoned possums washed up on Dunedin beaches, and warning signs were recently put on Taranaki beaches after poisoned carcases were found scattered along the coastline, he said.
Westport Beach Carcasses Tested Positive for 1080 Poison
(Posted at the Ban 1080 South Island Facebook group)
“Flora and Fauna Aotearoa and Clean Green New Zealand Trust believe a precautionary approach should have been adopted whilst testing was underway. The beach should immediately have been closed to the public as there is – and continues to be – a high risk of contamination, which is not only a risk to dogs but also a serious risk to public health. Fishing vessels in the area should be notified and additional tests to food and water supplies should be undertaken.”
Facts 4 Friday: Westport Beach Carcasses Tested Positive for 1080 Poison
Press Release – Flora and Fauna of Aoteaora and Clean Green New Zealand Trust.
Call for an Independent Investigation into the New Zealand Environmental Catastrophe.
Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa and Clean Green New Zealand Trust are calling for an immediate halt to all aerial 1080 poison operations and an independent investigation into the environmental catastrophe that has led to hundreds of dead wildlife washing-up on a Westport beach, South Island, New Zealand. Independent tests of samples collected by volunteers from the area confirm the presence of substances that indicate the deaths were almost certainly caused by 1080 poison. The incident comes a week after an aerial 1080 poison operation almost 140kms away in the Buller/Maruia catchment by the Department of Conservation (DoC). Numerous other poison pest control operations in the surrounding area have been completed, and even more are planned.
On Saturday November 9, after torrential rain, photographic evidence confirmed how hundreds of dead rats, many marine species, birds and other animals were washed down the flooded Buller River, onto the beach and into the ocean. Tourists camped on the beach were shocked to see the apocalyptic scene. According to locals, “they gathered up a trailer load of over 600 rats, plus dead crabs, crayfish, monkfish, barracuda, skates, sole, starfish, seabirds, octopuses, a goat, and more.” At that time, it was unclear what had caused the deaths and no action was taken other than DoC erected a sign that warned dog-owners of the risks. The contaminated carcasses were buried in a shallow hole on the beach. These will now need to be re-located to an appropriate hazardous waste facility, in line with the poison manufacturer’s instructions.
Flora and Fauna Aotearoa and Clean Green New Zealand Trust believe a precautionary approach should have been adopted whilst testing was underway. The beach should immediately have been closed to the public as there is – and continues to be – a high risk of contamination, which is not only a risk to dogs but also a serious risk to public health. Fishing vessels in the area should be notified and additional tests to food and water supplies should be undertaken.
The Department of Conservation West Coast operations manager Mark Davies has suggested that “it is unlikely the rats were poisoned by 1080 in a recent drop, then washed out of the hills by heavy rain. I just can’t imagine that the two are connected,” he said. However, this kind of event has been documented before, both in the Coromandel and near Dunedin, South Island. Newshub also reported, “Davies doesn’t think 1080, a controversial poison used in pest control, is the cause, because reports of dead fish and birds – along with the rats – are not consistent with the way 1080 is understood to work.”
However, Davies’ statement and similar frequently touted claims that 1080 poison is biodegradable and doesn’t affect aquatic life or birds is inconsistent with the scientific data, the manufacturer’s safety data and with hundreds of eyewitness accounts. In Russell State Forest last year, two days after a highly controversial aerial 1080 poison operation, dead eels, fish and birds were found floating in the river by local residents. There were also reports of eels dying in last year’s Hunua Ranges aerial poison drop, which included the poisoning of waterways feeding Auckland’s drinking-water supply. Reports in the Greymouth Star warn the public not to eat trout from the Buller River.
1080 poison is well-known for causing a cruel and prolonged death through direct and secondary poisoning. 1080 is not species-specific and can harm all lifeforms that require oxygen to live. Professor of toxicology at the University of Canterbury, Ian Shaw, has this to say about the toxicological effects of 1080 poison. “1080 could spell death to any cell it enters. It does not discriminate between cells or target animal. Providing the cell has the citric acid cycle it is doomed. The only way to target the effect is to use baits that a particular pest prefers (e.g. carrots for possums), but even then if another animal eats the 1080-laced bait it will die, as might animals that eat poisoned carcasses.” Many bird and aquatic species were scavenging poisoned carcasses from the Westport beach area. The fate of that wildlife is unknown. Secondary poisoning presents a very serious problem and will result in more collateral damage down through the food-web. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa co-ordinator Asha Andersen says, “It’s likely we will see further deaths as the carcasses and bones of the poisoned animals remain toxic for years. Seabirds, other wildlife and aquatic life have already been seen feeding off the carcasses and carrying them away, some likely to nests where they have young. Because 1080 poison is a hormone-disruptor, those creatures that don’t die could suffer from reproductive harm or DNA damage. There is also very real danger to humans who come in contact with the toxic carcasses or fish that have had sublethal exposure.”
It is high time all those in authority listen to concerned New Zealanders, who, for decades, have been publicly questioning the extremely harmful policies that promote the repeated indiscriminate poisoning of our natural spaces and wildlife, often with no rationale. We need to be vigorously questioning the integrity of the Environmental Protection Agency when they allow the use of such toxic chemicals in our environment with such dire consequences. Asha says, “When those charged with protecting our natural spaces are the ones wilfully destroying them and then covering it up or justifying the harm – there is something seriously wrong – and that needs to change now.”
To the people of New Zealand and our trading partners, we are in an environmental crisis. Our voices matter. There is a serious lack of confidence in the Department of Conservation, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Primary Industries, and Ministry of Health for this negligence of their duty of care. Due to the unintended consequences of aerial poisoning we are calling on our Government to immediately halt all aerial poison operations and to establish an independent investigation into this harmful practice, including initiating public health studies.
Flora & Fauna of Aotearoa, Incorporated Society 2735472
Clean Green New Zealand Trust Registered Charity CC54185
Tel +64 (0) 27 268 1947
If you read the mainstream news you will no doubt be aware of the recent news from the South that’s gaining more momentum by the day … the 600 (possibly 1080-poisoned) rats washed up on South Island Westport beach. I’ve not reported on any of it yet so am featuring more than one of the initial articles. (The header image features a trailer load of dead rats shoveled up off the beach). Not too much mention has been made of the myriad of other marine species washed up at the same time as the rats, and the birds of course. We know those are disappearing fast thanks to 1080 given LandCare Research has admitted to 10K in one Sth Island drop. (See this post). Mainstream news however is focusing on the rats rather than the many other species. EWR
newstalkzb.co.nz reported (includes video):
Below, Carol Sawyer has reproduced the Greymouth Star’s article on it:
RATS DUMP POINTS TO 1080 POISON – 680 CARCASES ON WESTPORT BEACH
Greymouth Star, 11 November 2019, By Laura Mills
Department of Conservation staff were today patrolling Buller beaches after at least 680 rat carcases were washed up on Saturday at Westport. There were also unconfirmed reports this morning of more washing up on Waimangaroa beach, and even some further south at Punakaiki. It comes after a DOC 1080 drop inland at Maruia, where the amount of 1080 used had been increased. It is thought the poisoned rats were flushed into the river by torrential rain in the area, and eventually washed 140km down the Maruia and Buller rivers to the sea. Last week, the Greymouth Star reported a plague of rats in the Maruia Valley, with reports they were chewing wiring in tractors and people who camped at Lake Daniells were disturbed by rats running over their tent all night. The population explosion was caused by a beech mast fruiting. The discovery of stinking, rotting piles of rats on Westport North beach even made British tabloid The Mirror yesterday, complete with graphic pictures.
Photos on social media showed dead birds, a starfish, skate and octopus. Seagulls could be seen eating the carcases.
Westport rocketed up the list of the satirical website ‘Sh.t Towns of NZ ’ as the news broke, to reach No 1, with the heading ‘tides of dead rats washes up on beach in sign of impending apocalypse’. DOC Buller district operations manager Robert Dickson said this morning 680 rats had been collected so far.
Some dead fish were also found and would be autopsied, but as fish were not susceptible to 1080 poison, DOC did not expect this to be the cause of their deaths, he said. “ We have asked for urgent tests, results should be back by the end of the week. ” “ Beaches were checked yesterday and no sign of any rats, there will be a further check after high tide today.” He warned that 1080 was very toxic for dogs, so until the all-clear was given, a great deal of care should be taken to keep dogs away from carcases found on the beaches. Mr Dickson said the 1080 sowing rate at Maruia was 0.15% baits 2kg per hectare. That was increased from 1.5kg earlier this year after more rats than expected sur vived earlier drops. Westport local Daniel Case said he heard about the dead rats on Friday and on Saturday morning he went for a look at North Beach, near the Buller River mouth.
“Off the top there’s just hundreds of fish, rats, octopus, starfish … everything. ” He said the carcases spanned as far as the eye could see. “ I only went for probably a kilometre walk but when they were cleaning it up, the locals cleaning it up, they said it went the whole way down — 3-4km. The people that picked them all up and were doing the clean up, they said a couple of DOC officers helped out and disposed of them for them.” He expected more carcases to wash up for the next couple of high tides. “ We all know the 1080 is getting dropped but when you see it come on to your back doorstep it’s pretty out of control and you got to think about what ’s up in the bush and up the riverbanks and everything that ’s still to come out,” Mr Case said.“ We couldn’t have got all of it in one hit, there’s got to be a lot more coming . . . it ’s got to be disastrous up there, that ’s for sure. ” DOC Western South Island operations director Mark Davies, of Hokitika, said in a statement it was “not inconceivable” the rats could have been washed out of the hills by heavy rain that followed an aerial 1080 operation at Maruia. “ Until we know other wise, we have to presume the rats have been poisoned by 1080 and take a cautionary approach,” Mr Davies said. In the meantime, signs had been posted at Westport and the carcases buried.
Watch this space for further updates.
Photos by Trevor Reid & an anonymous photographer. Supplied by Carol Sawyer.