Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Letter from a scientist

We received an email from a 4th year university student requesting further information on 1080 , and wanting to help out, if at all possible.
I forwarded the email on to one of the Scientists featured on Poisoning Paradise, Dr. Pat Whiting-OKeefe, requesting she respond. Her reply sums up New Zealand's poison industry pretty well.....

The email from the student.....

I am a fourth year Ecology student. This year i am starting my first year of masters in Ecology, studying cyanobacteria in fiordland fjords. I have interests in botany, freshwater ecology, marine ecology, anything to do with conservation you name it. Anyway, i recently saw poisioning paradise and it really opened my eyes, i was ****ing disgusted and enraged to put it politely, to learn just what it is doing to our native ecosystems. Since i have become aware of its negative implications i have begun to tell as many of my fellow pairs as i can. Sadly through teachings in our courses 1080 is percieved as good. I think that as a scientist and ecologist i have to do something to change this. I was wondering if you could please send me some scientific information that i can show to others to make them see both sides of the arguement. Furthermore, i think you both should be comended for your conservation efforts and for putting 1080 into the public spotlight. I would also like to offer you my help, please let me know if theres anything i can do to help end 1080.

Cheers, ---- Ends.

Dr. Pat Whiting-OKeefe responds.....

Hello ----,

Clyde sent me your email. We welcome you as a scientist to the world of ecosystems and environments in New Zealand. Unfortunately, most jobs for environmentalists in NZ are one way or the other sponsored by our government that currently has poison-mania. In case you haven’t seen it, there was a recent press release from Soil and Health Assoc. of New Zealand which I believe very accurately characterized our government’s attitude toward poisons. I am forwarding same to you.

I am Pat Whiting-OKeefe, a PhD Chemist. I received my doctorate from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, one of the foremost technology institutions in the world. My husband, Quinn and I (for some years now New Zealand citizens) participated in the documentary that Steve and Clyde produced. Quinn is also from Caltech, is a biostatistician, a mathematician, a medical doctor who also has a degree in Chemistry. His specialty is the design of medical and biological system trials and experiments to prove or disprove a proposed effect. He is recognized as a leading specialist in this domain and is extremely well qualified to judge the merits of the science that is conducted by DoC to determine the effect that aerial 1080 is having on our environment.

As we both testified in the documentary, Poisoning Paradise, Ecocide in New Zealand, DoC has badly misled the people about the effect of its poisoning regime and indeed the scientific results from the studies they have conducted bear this out, despite their claims to the contrary. I could send you a CD containing our ERMA submission which was a study of the published scientific papers on the effect aerial 1080 was having on animal populations in New Zealand (or elsewhere, except it is not used in this manner anywhere else). The CD would include the more than 100 papers referenced on this subject and includes hyperlinks from our submission to the references so that you can judge for yourself. ERMA ignored our submission as well as all the others and all the testimony at the hearings. Indeed they even published their conclusions prior to any of the hearings.

I caution you though that our submission is now out of date. However the CD would include new information such as the tragic loss of those 7 keas on fox glacier in 2008, etc. That and other fallout since then were included in the documentary.

If you are interested, please send me your mailing address. Nonetheless, I think that the documentary, especially the shorter version, provides compelling evidence of what aerial 1080 is doing to our natural environment.

Best regards,

Pat Whiting-OKeefe


  1. clyde when you write your fake letters you really should at the very least use spell-check. No 4th year university student would use such atrocious gramma and abmonibal speliin!

  2. hi Pat could you please explain how it is that both yourself and Quinn were unable to understand the collapse dynamics of the Mapara kokako population?

  3. hi Pat after you have addressed the above question can you please document your claim:
    "Indeed they even published their conclusions prior to any of the hearings."

  4. hey clyde did those research articles about fluoroacetate in tea show up? That Ian Gill seems like a good sort, wondering if he sent them to you as promised...

  5. Pat Whiting-OKeefeMarch 13, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    Hi birdscantalk,
    As scientists, we reviewed the scientific research on the effect aerial 1080 was having on NZ fauna. We reviewed the 1998 Innes et al multi-year kokako study done at Mapara. While the study design was flawed in numerous respects, their results showed that the kokako numbers dropped over the years when aerial 1080 was applied and recovered and even gained ground during the years of ground based controls. We did not examine the historical status of the kokako.

  6. Pat Whiting-OKeefeMarch 14, 2010 at 9:36 AM

    Hi birdscantalk,
    In April 2007, ERMA staff issued an Evaluation and Review Report on application HRE05002, the reassessment of 1080. This was availalble on their website and may still be. It was an extensive document containing 23 appendicies and concluded that 1080 should be reapproved with slightly more monitoring and controls in place. It detailed ERMA's final conclusions. This took place prior to the hearings.