Sunday, March 29, 2009

Top 10 Myths about 1080 - Part One

  • That it is necessary to use 1080 because there are 70 million possums - Where does anyone get this statistic from? It's the same statistic that has been talked about for decades, but when we go into the bush after a 1080 drop, we never find evidence of huge numbers of possums. The statistic is just used to shock people into desperately accepting any means of control.
  • That it is cheaper to drop 1080 aerially - This depends on what you're including in your costs, doesn't it? Aerial poisoning requires fewer workers but wouldn't it be preferable to provide work for ground-based pest-controllers, rather than having to pay the dole? Wouldn't it also be good to be able to use the possum as a sustainable resource, rather than letting them all rot out in the wilderness? The accidental poisoning of secondary animals also carries a cost, and there are far greater chances of these accidents happening in aerial drops because no one is burying the carcasses or sweeping the paths clear of baits. Ground-based operations conducted in the past have proven to be economical ways of controlling possums.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

We went into battle this week and the crowd came with us

We were down Napier way this week in a place called Te Pohue.

We had a meeting to attend - which was also attended by some of the Animal Health Board leaders from Wellington.

Their objective - to inform the locals of the "benefits" of 1080, and the fight against TB.
Our objective - to inform locals of the truth about the AHB objective.

After all, they plan to drop 1080 over 55,000 hectares of the Te Urewera National Park. Can you believe that? One of our most precious wilderness areas.

We decided to really help get the locals stirred up on this issue - so that's what we did.

There were cheers from the crowd, after we encouraged them to fight this stuff, and never permit these filthy toxins to be dropped into their environment - much to the shock of the six in the opposition team, all armed with briefcases, and 150k salaries.

Anyway, the AHB, and regional council were pushing their usual lines, but were lost on some questions from the floor. This crowd was sharp on their knowledge - and besides, this crowd had the same drop dumped on them 2 ½ years ago so the devastation is still fresh in their minds.

They plan to re-kill 55,000 of Te Urewera forest, in the hope of catching a possum with TB. But how big is the TB problem really?

AHB revealed that it is quite safe to consume meat infected with TB. Even the ERMA decision paper said it’s nearly impossible to catch the disease, even if you ate raw meat infected with TB. In fact, TB-infected stock is currently sold into local supermarkets. The TB issue is a STIGMA thing – it’s not a real threat.

But 1080 is a real threat.

So, which stigma would you rather trade with - a low chance of TB in your meat, or a low chance of the deadly 1080 toxin in your meat and water?

I know which one I'd choose.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The birds are dead in Pirongia

We were filming the last bits for the doco at Pirongia (west Hamilton), yesterday.

Incidently, the DoC has dropped 1080 there three times over the last 10 years. There has been research done on Pirongia poisoning, and it says that each time they have dropped, they have recorded lower bird numbers.

Well, it was the first time I have been in the bush there - and it was revealing. There are birds on the fringes, as is the case in all areas - the birds like the fringes, and there is less poison on the edges.

But head into the bush, and apart from seeing one pigeon, we saw no other birds. We did hear a couple of grey warblers, and one fantail, in the distance. It was a beautiful day, and we were in there for six hours. What a disaster! Their bloody toxins!

The Department of Conservation and Forest and Bird say that there are initial losses of birds after poisoning but the numbers increase rapidly once the predators have been killed off.

But doesn't ten years of poisoning in Pirongia prove them wrong?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What the World Health Organization said about 1080 poison

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a lot of things to say in its Toxicity Report about sodium fluoroacetate (1080) but the bits that stand out for me are the following:

1.4.4 Unintended effects: very toxic to birds, domestic animals and wildlife. High risk of secondary poisoning to carnivorous and omnivorous species from eating poisoned carcasses.

4.1.3 .... Baits should not be used where there is a risk of contaminating food, animal feeding stuffs or drinking or washing water. Exposed baits should be laid in containers clearly marked "Poison". Baits should not be laid unless all access by children and animals other than rats and mice can be prevented. Except in locked unoccupied premises baits should not remain down for more than 24 hours. All exposed baits and their containers should be removed after treatment and burned. Rodent bodies should be searched for and destroyed by burning.

After reading this, it's surprising to read that the Animal Health Board says in a letter to Kaka "we strongly disagree with your claims that our operations will result in the decimation of native birdlife or contamination of the soil, water and air." Even Steve Chadwick said last year that 1080 breaks down in water.

If this is so, why do all the labels and reports about 1080 toxicity say the opposite? Have we become deaf to the truth because 1080 is a lazy and convenient option?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Campbell Live TV3 - Monday, 9th, March 7.00pm.

TV3 - Campbell Live Monday, 9th March
We were interviewed by TV3, Cambell Live Producer - Clayton Anderson, while filming Victor McClean, a ground-based trapper on the Coromandel, yesterday (5th, March)
The item is due for airing this Monday, the 9th of March, TV3, at 7.00pm.

"Poisoning Paradise - Ecocide in New Zealand" is going to be released in 2 versions - a full, comprehensive DVD, and a shorter, viewer friendly version.
The full version is expected to be released on the 20th of March, 2009.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Who else wants to see this newspaper headline about 1080?

In July 2008, after seven out of 29 kea were killed in one area in a 1080 poison operation, our parliamentarians debated the wisdom of using a lethal poison that threatens a wide range of wildlife. Steve Chadwick insisted that DoC constantly reviews their biosecurity and that ERMA had recently conducted a review that concluded 1080 poison is the best pest control method available.

Strange isn't it then that ERMA had made its mind up about the fate of 1080 before independent scientists, conservation, recreation and community groups had been given the opportunity to give their evidence in the review? News media reported the leaked information about their decision weeks before individuals and groups were due to be heard.

There has been a change of government since July 2008, so perhaps it's time for John Key and his team to have another look at the facts. At a time of economic downturn, when the government is focused on a jobs summit, do you reckon it would be wise to focus on pest control options that encourage tourism, provide jobs and promote clean, green exports? We have sent him a copy of our documentary. Now might be a good time for you to email his parliamentary secretary at asking him for a 1080 ban.

Can't wait to see that newspaper headline!