Police tested for about six poisons, none of them 1080, and then “had the effrontery” to tell him this was not a death by 1080 poison.
[Remember this is the 2006 story concerning the loss by a NZ laboratory of the heart of a young woman who was a suspected victim of 1080 poisoning while tramping in the South Island. His statement also explains the reticence of any laboratory that does test for 1080 in disclosing their identity. EWR.
By Carol Sawyer
Last year I met with retired Dunedin GP, Kevin Shannon, still fit and tall and travelling the world at the age of 87. Kevin (who gave a submission at the ERMA Review 2007, on the case of the death of a female tramper in the link below), is of the opinion that:
…some New Zealanders, no-one knows how many, will have died of heart attacks due to undetected Compound 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate).
Kevin added that in this instance the Police tested for about six poisons, none of them 1080, and then “had the effrontery” to tell him this was not a death by 1080 poison.
He told me that no dead body will ever be tested for 1080 in NZ because any pathologist who did so would not have a job for long.
“In case you have any doubt, the MOH and their clerical employees have a great deal of control over our medical professions and they do not take kindly to anyone expressing an opinion that they disagree with. Working Doctors with current practicing certificates have to tread lightly where the MOH and their agendas are concerned.” Dr Charles Baycroft
NB: Exercise the precautionary principle and take extreme care whilst tramping in NZ’s wild places. The Class 1A Ecotoxin 1080 is spread liberally and aerially around NZ’s environment and we are told it is not very harmful to humans. See our page on suspected 1080 poisoning cases.
With the ranks of those who oppose the aerial spreading of 1080 swelling exponentially, you may well be asking, why are folk so concerned about this poison? (Note, If you are new to 1080 poison read here for an overview). I’ve been following this issue for at least three years now & this widespread aerial distribution of 1080 into NZ’s environment for pest control is the issue that gets by far the most views and shares at EnvirowatchRangitikei. The article by Jenese James on the GrafBoys’ press release on 89 (dead & not tested) Kiwi has had 54K shares to date on facebook. Folk are outraged at what is coming to light and rightly so. I personally began researching the independent information about 1080 after watching the documentary by the GrafBoys called Poisoning Paradise.These two Kiwi guys were raised in the bush, they know their stuff. Their doco has won four international awards (see here also) and yet … get this … NZ television will not play it here in our own country. They are assuming that we cannot listen & judge for ourselves? Does that not raise alarm bells for you? It should. That doco was the starting point that left me with enough question marks around the official line, to prompt me to look further than DoC’s own research. That is literal too, for the research DoC uses to justify the alleged safety of aerial distribution of 1080 in NZ is 70% in-house, writes Reihana Robinson in her book The Killing Nation.
So what is coming to light then? Does NZ’s Department of Conservation (DoC) not have our best interests at heart? The best interests of our native flora & fauna? Don’t they have all the right checks & balances in place? Do they not have a body of scientific data & research (including follow up data) justifying the use of this poison, that has been banned incidentally by most other countries on the planet? Well, as it turns out, no they don’t appear to have a sound, watertight body of scientific data that actually proves 1080 is both safe & achieving (after 60+ years) what it set out to do.
“… there is not a single scientifically credible study showing that aerial 1080 when used on the mainland is of net benefit to any species of New Zealand’s native fauna. Thus the upside for native species is entirely unproven, despite 15 years of increasingly desperate attempts by DoC to show one.” … Pat and Quinn Whiting-OKeefe, Scientists
In light of this, people are understandably worried about their food sources. If it’s touted as being ‘safe’, safe in our food, safe in water and so on, yet the science has any kind of question mark over it, then logically, folk will be concerned. I certainly am. The authorities should be practicing the precautionary principle:
“The precautionary principle is the concept that establishes it is better to avoid or mitigate an action or policy that has the plausible potential, based on scientific analysis, to result in major or irreversible negative consequences to the environment or public even if the consequences of that activity are not conclusively known, with the burden of proof that it is not harmful falling on those proposing the action. It is a major principle of international environmental law and is extended to other areas and jurisdictions as well.” (New World Encylopedia)
NZers are keen hunters and fishers. Wild food (pigs and deer, fish & eels from the rivers, koura from the streams, whitebait and so on) are a staple for many. This is their families’ kai (food). The rivers and bush or forests are their food cupboard. And now they are seeing that source becoming a safety risk because a toxic poison is being dumped into it and has been for 60+ years. In spite of verbiage telling us it’s harmless as a cup of tea or a packet of crisps (potato chips) (the oft quoted justifications on blogs by pro 1080 folk).
So not only is there concern about contamination of hunted animals, but contamination of the flora as well.
Not only is 1080 highly toxic to mammals, birds and insects- one scientist has even discovered that it is toxic to plants and so forests do not do so well after 1080 drops. (interview with Clyde Graf) ourplanet.org
Take for instance the recent poisoning of the family in Putaruru in the Waikato. This family, after beginning a meal of wild pork, fell instantly ill and had to be rushed to hospital by ambulance. The scenario that followed is revealing indeed regarding the apparent cover up that is going on with regard to testing possible victims of 1080 poisoning. A Doctor suspected 1080 as the source of the problem early in the piece as records showed when they were finally released after some of the usual foot dragging that seems to be characteristic of any request by the public for official documentation around possible 1080 poisoning. The familycould not even access their own records! Not only did the hospital fail to test for 1080 within the required time frame, the fact that the patients were literally tied to their beds because of the violent convulsions characteristic of 1080 poisoning, was never mentioned in the media.
The ongoing mantra from mainstream media on this was ‘botulism’.
You can read about this whole shocking debacle at the 1080 page, ‘Suspected 1080 Poisoning Cases’. Please read the evidence there if you at all hunt or fish for food. And if you are a tourist, it is better in my opinion, not to drink from the streams as many have been observed doing. Observers have described how tourists are sometimes not even aware of the purpose of 1080 drops going on right over their heads. So much for public warnings.
Invariably what I am seeing in the reports, articles and general chat by eye witnesses is that the toxicity of 1080 is totally downplayed. It is even being taught in children’s school texts that 1080 is ‘not very dangerous’ to humans. This is a substance that is banned in most countries. That kills all breathing organisms from insect life to worms, right up to larger animals such as horses. And yet we are supposed to believe it specifically targets pests? How ever is that possible? Another miracle from NZ’s Department of Conservation? Read Dr Meriel Watts’ exposé of that theory.
Then we heard this year from research by the Graf Brothers that the authorities have changed the rules to allow the dropping of 1080 into our waterways without a Regional Council consent. They can now effectively bypass the pesky Resource Management Act. And dropping it they are. Prior to this, it was ending up in waterways anyway as witnesses have shown with their many photographs posted online. The late Bill Benfield’s research revealed that a drop in the Hunua Ranges, home of Auckland’s town water supply, saw the water filters filled with 1080 pellets! Seriously. In addition, there is NO antidote! It is undetectable as the cause of death if tests are not done early enough.
To date there are no known epidemiological studies that have been carried out in relation to 1080 and potential adverse health effects on humans. … NZ Ministry of Health 2008
Then there is the risk to outdoors people who simply walk or hike. Over the past three years I’ve seen various reports of folk out picnicking, out tramping or simply enjoying the scenery, rained down on by 1080 pellets.
Two women fell ill after this kind of scenario while innocently out for a picnic. Nobody will of course admit to any link between their illness & exposure to 1080. The most upsetting of all the examples of this has been that of the young US woman who died following a tramp in the Queenstown area. Her Doctor suspected 1080 poisoning & tried to bring about an investigation into that. Her heart was sent for testing as to the cause of her cardiac rest and unbelievably the NZ lab lost her heart. Seriously. They lost her heart! Dr Charlie Baycroft a retired MD, recently warned the public that if anybody dies from 1080 poison nobody will know. He was threatened with prosecution by the Ministry of Health for publicly advising folk how to go about getting tested if they feared poisoning.
Are you beginning to feel uneasy at all about our wild food sources?
I read a comment just the other day by a woman who has stopped taking her children to a recreational/scenic area where she’s noticed signs up saying it’s been treated with 1080. I spoke recently with a university lecturer on the poisoning program, he has noticed a proliferation of poison signs when he goes into the bush. This is a common comment from tourists and locals. Poisoning signs everywhere. There are 65 dogs die each year from 1080 poisoning a NZ site called Pause for a Cause reports. Then there are the ongoing and endless reports of farmers whose stock have succumbed to death by 1080. Dr Meriel Watts in her book ‘The Poisoning of New Zealand’ (1994) of a South Island farmer who lost 570 sheep in a bungled drop, with sheep still dying six months later. To make things even worse, they die a long slow horrific death that, says a veterinarian, is like two days worth of electrocution. The NZ authorities changed the animal welfare act to allow this. To top it off, adding insult to injury, they are forced to lie about this in the paperwork should they desire compensation for their losses. Hobson’s choice.
Then there was the Whitianga debacle. The attendance by one concerned man at the scene of the unloading of 1080 in the CBD of Whitianga with no public warnings or signage out as legally required, a man who was subsequently assaulted by a security guard, was himself charged with assault, the case eventually dismissed but leaving him with more than $22K in court costs. If you were at all conspiratorial you might think a clear message was being sent to the public. You can read about that at these links. Then in Levin a Horizons storage facility where 1080 was stored caught fire, with apparently no public warnings in place. I observed myself, comments on social media by a man who had noticed symptoms of illness following that fire. He lived in the vicinity. His conversation around the effects cut abruptly short I noticed.
More recently we’ve had revelations on lack of safety with 1080, by an ex employee of Horizons. Diluted solutions of 1080 were sprayed all over the Palmerston North landfill by a contractor surprised that he was allowed to do this. What of the leachate from that dump? What of public in the vicinity of the spraying? What of the earth it was sprayed onto? Of nearby water sources/streams/ditches and so forth?
ERMA’s Agency warned that “No studies have been conducted using standard international guidelines to assess the route and rate of degradation of 1080 in soil. The rate of such degradation under New Zealand conditions is uncertain.”And regarding water: ”Overall, the relevance of the aquatic plant/water studies to the degradation of 1080 in water in NZ is not clear.” … Dr Jo Pollard (BSc (Hons, PhD)
And yes there is more that folk are concerned about.
The birds. Frequently we are reading comments by people who note there is no birdsong … no birds in the bush. Folk who have lived long enough to remember how things used to be, like an 82 year old gentleman recently who said the Kiwi, Kereru, Kea, Weka & Tui had all disappeared from where he lived on the West Coast. Reports also come from people who aren’t even anti 1080 or even aware of these drops. Tourists. One I read commented that since their last trip to NZ in the ’70s the birds were noticeably scarce. The GrafBoys & others have posted videos online following 1080 drops & illustrated the lack of birdsong. Listen below.
Below a blogger comments about Lake Matheson in the South Island:
Lake Matheson, near Fox Glacier township, South Westland. When I lived there many years ago (Fox Glacier I mean) there was so much birdlife. The day I took that photo there was nothing. You can see what a beautiful morning it was. There was a pair of Paradise ducks on the lake, I saw one male Tomtit, and I heard one Grey Warbler. In one hour of walking round the lake that was all the birdsong I heard. A real “Rachel Carson” moment ! PS That area is also overrrun with tourists and campervans now too.
No … people who oppose the use of aerial 1080 are not terrorists as mainstream media is doing their utmost to portray them as. They simply do not want their food sources & their environment poisoned. I think that is a fair request.We are constantly told that 1080 is the best tool in the tool box, yet there are alternatives & the most glaringly obvious is trapping with all of it’s obvious benefits. Employment, trade & food. But no, DoC don’t want a bar of it.
It seems pertinent at this point to highlight one of the apparent major incentives for the continuation of 1080 drops, as a former Mayor of Taupo expounded:
Orillion, the company in Whanganui that makes 1080 baits is a State Owned Enterprise, its two share holders are the Minister of Finance & the Minister of Primary Industry. (Info at 2.40 in this video).
People need to look beyond the diversions mainstream is constantly throwing out … were the dead birds on Parliament steps killed by 1080 or blunt force? Seriously? What does it matter?
These are questions however that mainstream media quietly & persistently ignore. It is fairly obvious who they are working for & their current mandate is clearly painting any persons who are against poisoned food & environments as dangerous terrorists.
And we are never of course going to hear answers to those questions … figuring them out for ourselves really isn’t rocket science though is it?
NOTE: For further articles on 1080 use categories at left of the news page.
There are links also on our 1080 resources page to most of the groups, pages, sites etc that will provide you with further information to make your own informed decision on this matter.
If you are pro poisoning of the environment, EnvirowatchRangitikei is not the place to espouse your opinions. Mainstream would be the place to air those. This is a venue for sharing the independent science you won’t of course find there.
Finally we don’t endorse violence in any way shape or form.
NOTE: Periodically & randomly the facebook share option will disappear from posts on the front (news) page. If it is not appearing, click on the heading of the article to go to its own page, usually the share button will show up there. (All else failing copy & past the url to your facebook page).
This story is from 2006, a shocking story in more ways than one. Shocking and sad for the family of this young woman, Whitney Robie, who was only 23. She had been hiking in the South Island, felt unwell, and after retiring to bed, died in her sleep of a sudden cardiac arrest it was later ascertained. Now they are left with few answers and no real closure regarding the why of her death. The Doctor she saw that day was concerned she had possibly been exposed to 1080 on her hike. Read on.
She had come here to our ‘clean green’ paradise to live. Sadly she died here.
(NZ is not clean and green people, it is severely polluted and toxic now … and worse, our authorities lie about that).
Sudden accidental deaths (SADs) do happen however this story has some anomalies which could have but have not been solved due to a medical blunder. It is thanks to a GP who followed up on Whitney & questioned friends at the hostel where she was staying, that we have a little more of this story than we would otherwise have known.
Losing a heart for one thing is a shocker in itself. In a random and ordinary course of events such a mistake is feasible. But with a sudden unexplained death of a very healthy, active young woman … how could this possibly happen? When the clues to her death clearly lay within an analysis of her heart’s condition, how could they simply LOSE her heart? Well lose it they did. Or so they say.
The official story about this loss can be found at the following link:
A journalist who has been following this story for some time and says it has been shared more than 150 times now, has re posted it on Facebook with the attendant detail from when it first became news…here is the train of events as described by her (edited for brevity & omission of personal detail):
“Regarding Whitney Robie, she went hiking on her own in a 1080’d area (I believe it was gel/jelly) and felt unwell that evening, said so, went to bed and had a cardiac arrest in the night. She was 23. From the USA, her obituary described how she was full of life, fit, loved the outdoors and had moved to NZ for an adventure. She had no previous history of heart problems.
The Doctor concerned said he had gone to the hostel and spoken to the other guests straight after she died. Later when he heard her death had been recorded as a heart attack, he advised and pressed the authorities to run tests relating to possible 1080 exposure. He was told however that the matter was now ‘officially closed’.
Her heart was sent for post mortem and was lost by the govt laboratory. This Dunedin GP was so concerned that he made a submission to ERMA in 2007 that included this account.
It was his opinion that the most probable cause of her death was 1080 poisoning, and that many others in NZ over the years have also died from it but that their deaths are either mistakenly or deliberately misdiagnosed.”
A letter to the editor in 2006 commenting on the actions of the Doctor involved gives further information about the unexplained early deaths of people working with 1080. Read the pdf here:cancer-deaths-from-1080
Here are some points to consider about this story:
The 1080 Reassessment Application document for ERMA Oct 2006. Section 3.3 Hazard Classifications. Sub section 4.8.2 [has the] ‘Heart’ as a target organ.
4.8.2. Heart as a target organ That single or repeated sublethal exposures to fluoroacetate can have toxic effects on the heart has been recognised for some time (e.g. Steyn 1934; Quin and Clark 1947; Hicks 1952). In general, the action of fluoroacetate on the heart is to decrease the metabolic energy available in heart muscle, which affects the conduction system controlling the rate and strength of heart beats (e.g. Chenoweth and Gilman 1947) (found on page 11 of the pdf)
St Johns put out their Sudden Cardiac Arrest Annual Report in June and it shows the figures for rural as opposed to urban. The rates are far far higher in rural areas.
Rural New Zealanders had more than double the incidence of cardiac arrest than those in urban centres – approximately 160 versus 78 (per 100,000 person-years).
1080 is effective as a poison regardless of the mode of entry. It can be absorbed by the intact skin, but not readily, however it is easily absorbed through cuts, abrasions, and is rapidly absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract and through the lungs. One teaspoon of 1080 is enough to kill 30-100 adults weighing around 150 pounds. The potential for misuse is great
The main point is that although these deaths may or may not be attributed to 1080, more importantly, if nobody looks and checks then we are left with this element of doubt. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Plausible deniability is not good enough. There are questions that are not being answered or even addressed.It recently came to light from an Official Information request that DOC had lost 89 Kiwi, and yet they had not tested one of them for 1080. Doing so is not rocket science.
A blogger, NZRose commented here recently: My partner and I spoke to the poison people late last year. They are contracted to lay everything from cyanide to feratox to take care of the ‘pests’ on behalf of the NZ Government. I will never forget them laughing as they said that the 1080 had been doubled more than a year prior to our conversation. When we asked why they said “to Kill the deer, and the activists aren’t even aware yet”. We responded with “Well now they are”. These people were too stupid to realise they were talking to the wrong people. (See the whole comment here)
Proceed with Caution
And in the meantime, this is all evidence enough for us to be extremely wary of exposing ourselves in any way to 1080. It is clearly a lethal product and by all reports right now, is being spread around quite indiscriminately. Finding it on walking tracks, in streams and on public seating and anywhere near where humans are likely to be, is simply not good enough. Families with young children walk these tracks. If you intend hiking in our bush, please avail yourself of data about when 1080 was last spread in the area where you intend walking. You can obtain this from DOC. We recently heard of two women who were surprised during a picnic by a 1080 drop who continue to experience illness, they believe, because of that unintended exposure. Clearly they were not aware of any intentions by DOC to be dropping 1080 where they picnicked that day.
About 1080: 1080 is an alias for Monofluoroacetate, a chemical. Monofluoroacetate was originally developed and marketed as an insecticide. It functions primarily by interfering with the citrate step in the Krebs cycle . The Krebs cycle is the major and an essential mechanism by which all air breathing creatures utilize food to produce energy. It is therefore universally toxic to all animals, essentially every living thing except plants and some micro-organisms. The degree of toxicity of 1080 is extreme, but varies somewhat among species. It is categorised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as 1A, their highest rating, “extremely toxic” [1,2]. * The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies 1080 as ‘Extremely Hazardous’, most countries ban it outright. NZ uses 85% of the world’s supply … perhaps the world hasn’t figured out what a wonderful thing it really is. (References 1-5 are at the source) *Dr Q Whiting-OKeefe (BA Chemistry, Math), MD, FACMI
What I deduct from all of this is that until the NZ government desists from using it, we the public must be very vigilant in protecting ourselves. That to my mind includes warning others, particularly tourists who are sold our country on the basis of being ‘clean and green’. The corporations (and our government is one) have a priority (a legal mandate) of profits over people, so they are not going to put your safety first. We believe it is far safer to err on the side of caution when there are any suspected or known risks.
Educate yourself on 1080 … find links at our 1080 page to the many resources available. Search for further articles exposing the risks of 1080 by searching ‘categories’ at the left of any page.
Note: for some reason, the Facebook sharing button is not working … in the meantime, to share please use the url.
Please take extreme care….. EnvirowatchRangitikei
NZ Herald Article
Family face long wait over backpacker’s lost heart
The family of an American backpacker whose heart went missing after she died suddenly in Queenstown last month face a long wait.
The Auckland District Health Board is investigating the disappearance of 23-year-old Whitney Robie’s heart from LabPlus, the hospital’s pathology laboratory.
Miss Robie collapsed while watching TV at Deco Backpackers in Queenstown on May 15 and died shortly afterwards despite efforts to revive her.
Invercargill pathologist Dr Ahmed Shogun could not determine her cause of death. Queenstown coroner Alan Macalister and police requested a further investigation and her heart was couriered to LabPlus for tests.
But Miss Robie’s heart was lost and had been missing since, despite a “thorough and repeated search” for it.
“I can confirm … [it] has not been located,” said the health board’s external communications manager Fleur King.
She said the normal procedure was for the board to conduct its investigation before presenting its findings to relatives.
The process could take several months, she said.
“The family will be presented with the document. It is up to them if they want to present it to the public.”
Ms King would not say if anyone or any organisation would be punished over the matter but said “additional measures” had been introduced to ensure it did not happen again.
In a statement issued to the media, the board and LabPlus expressed deep regret at what had happened and said the organisation had been in contact with Miss Robie’s family.
However, Miss Robie’s mother, Alison, told the Herald on Sunday she and her husband Chuck were angry at the lack of information and contact from both LabPlus and the health board.
“Auckland Hospital has never called us. The lab has never called us. The only communication from anyone over there, other than the police and the original doctor who was with Whitney after the incident, has been through a funeral director here,” said Mrs Robie.
The couple want to know what caused their daughter’s death and what went wrong at LabPlus.
“I’m kind of speechless to be honest with you over the whole thing,” said Mr Robie. “It’s a personal matter when we start talking about something of our daughter’s.
“We have struggled with that whole issue. We’re really at a loss at this point in time, without any information on what we should do,” he said.
Miss Robie was buried in her New Hampshire home town on May 23.
This site aims to educate the public by providing independently researched evidence and by exposing untruths. Corporations are not inclined to tell you the full facts because they have a priority of profits over people.
We do not in any way encourage or condone violence in raising these issues. It is our ultimate wish that the government/corporation desist from unleashing toxic poisons into our once clean and green environment, but until they do we simply wish to warn people to protect themselves from possible harm.