Monday, July 26, 2010

Police apologise for incident on West Coast

Inspector John Canning, of the Greymouth Police Station, today phoned and apologised for the conduct of a police officer from his district, that was involved in the incident in which one of our camera microphones was broken. The incident took place at one of the recent Westland 1080 protests sites, on Monday evening, the 5th of July.
Inspector Canning was caught up in the incident after it appears he was informed by area staff that it was the behavior of Clyde Graf that induced the reaction, and that this behavior was the cause of the microphone to be torn from its mount by a police officer. However, film footage from the incident contrasts this view.
The comments published in the Hokitika Guardian and Greymouth Star newspapers, 2 days after the incident, were considered as defamatory.

Inspector Canning also suggested that we arrange a quote for the damaged microphone, and forward it to Greymouth Police Station, for payment.
Inspector Canning stated that he has begun an investigation into the incident.

To view the incident posted on a You-tube by Wyn Hibberd, click here.

Deer in our forests

The argument of whether deer belong in our forests or not, comes up regularly. Many groups, and educational institutions attempt to inDOCtrinate their members and students with the theory that deer, and some other wild animals, are pests that cause permanent damage to New Zealand forests, and should be eradicated.

Deer populations are low, to very low, in most parts of the country.
However, the unfounded claims, and bias research still roll out on a regular basis, and contradict what is actually happening in our forests.
It is probably not unreasonable to speculate that believers in the "deer cause permanent forest damage" theory have never seen a wild deer, let alone have any experience in the wilderness - at least in regard to getting off the beaten track.

Secondhand stories, and fables that have been passed down through generations have helped develop an "anti-exotic animal phobia", as a visiting zoologist pointed out 53 years ago...

In 1957 a Professor of zoology - Dr. William Graf - visited New Zealand to look at deer populations. His paper is called...


The following excerpts (in blue) are from his findings...

The trip to NZ is part of the overall study of the Hawaiian deer study started on September 1, 1957.
This study was initiated as a result of the conflict of interests and opinion as to the desirability
of introducing deer into territorial islands beyond the present range of distribution of the deer i
n Hawaii.
The argument against the introduction of deer into new areas was based upon a number of points. Basically these were as follows...

1/ The current and widely-held belief that "where vegetation develops in the absence of grazing or brows
ing animals such vegetation will later be unable to withstand grazing and browsing and will quickly be exterminated by grazing and browsing animals."

2/ That wild animals introduced into areas where no such animals have ever been found will result in uncontrollable populations of these animals with a consequent denudation of the vegetation.

3/ The antago
nism produced as a result of the introduced deer into any of the presently deer-free islands
was based to a large extent upon information about NZ and its supposed deer population problems.

Professor Graf goes on to say....

The arguments with regard to New Zealand were presented in such volume and so strongly that they could not be ignored. The evidence with regard to New Zealand, however, was so conflicting from the standpoint of known facts about deer populations in other
parts of the world, that the only solution was to go to New Zealand and examine the situation first hand.

The information used was often based on newspaper stories written by obviously uninformed and prejudiced people. The nature of the articles showed obviously an emotional bias by people not trained in recognising evidence, much less in interpreting it. Quite often the wrong species of animal would be involved. It was difficult to accept statements about the uncontrollable numbers of animals when such statements were directly opposed to all experiences with similar or the same species in other parts of the world. Population behavior and relationship to environment follow basic rules which are not likely to be suspended simply because of change in location.
Because of this and the fact that the NZ information did not agree with the evidence which I found in Hawaii, the decision was made to go to New Zealand.

In summary, Dr. Graf makes the following comments...

It was found that there exists in NZ what amounts to an "anti-exotic animal phobia" to an extent that much of the public as well as many government officials do not and cannot view the situation in an objective perspective.

Administration and management of the wildlife resources is widely divided among various departments and agencies in NZ. The result is often one of duplication of work, conflict of interests, philosophies and policies, with the inevitable inefficiency and waste of tim
e and money.

Throughout my visit in New Zealand I was repeatedly informed that "conditions in New Zealand were different." I must emphatically deny that conditions were different from any basic standpoint related to principles of biology or ecology. The basic problems as i found them are no different in NZ than they are in North America, Hawaii or Europe. Only the details vary. The principles that apply to these problems and the problems are the same.
The oft repeated and widely believed statement about "vegetation which develops

in the absence of grazing and browsing animals-" simply does not stack up under close scrutiny.

First of all, where no browsing or grazing animals have been found before the advent of white man and his introductions, the vegetation has been derived almost entirely if not entirely so, from plant families which evolved on mainland areas in the presence of grazers and b

Secondly, that where no grazers or browsers are present the normal genetic process is for random development of all types of variations, some resistant and some not resistant to animal use, and in all degrees of variation. It would be just as logical to postulate that such vegetation will all be highly resistant to animal use as to say it will not be resistant to animal use.

Thirdly, New Zealand vegetation can hardly be considered as a type which developed in the absence of vegetarian animals. The various birds, extinct and present, are to a large extent browsers. The pigeons, parakeets and parrots are leaf and bud eaters.

The best proof of toughness of New Zealand vegetation is the way it has withstood the most ruthless use -man's fire and livestock. Wherever fire and logging use has been discontinued the forest is coming back - and in the presence of deer, sheep and even goats as I saw myself within a few miles of Wellington.
In addition to this, New Zealand has produced some of the finest hedge plants in use today in the United States. If the oft-quoted statement about vegetation evolution in the absence of grazers and browsers is to be taken at face value, one would have to conclude that these hedge plants must have evolved in the presence of wild hedge shearers.

I am left with no choice except to conclude that the information about numbers of deer and their effect upon the vegetation was in error. Certainly the figures about deer do not agree with any possible reproductive capacity, or even potential, of any known deer species.

It's worth pointing out that when Dr. Graf visited New Zealand in 1957, deer numbers were probably 10 times higher than they are now, but the facts remain the same. In many ways, his conclusions are more relevant now, than they were then.
Whether you agree with Dr. Graf's findings or not, there certainly is a thread of "anti-exotic animal phobia" entrenched in New Zealand educational institutions, departmental bodies and lobby groups.

In regard to the consensus on deer populations in our forests -
A study was conducted by W. Fraser for Landcare Research, (Landcare Research series no. 23) which found that 95% of people surveyed would like to a see deer in the back country.
A ministerial paper was also conducted into peoples views on game animals, and of the 4000 respondents, 80% thought these animals were a resource.

It is mis-information and "anti-exotic animal phobias" that are encouraging the unnecessary aerial poisoning campaigns currently used in New Zealand.

If we can find a middle ground, where our wild animals are managed sensibly, and our objectives remain reasonable, then I think we can eventually all start heading in the same direction, and work toward a cleaner, greener, and happier New Zealand.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Police incident at 1080 protest site

The following segments are from the Greymouth Star newspaper, Wednesday July 7, 2010...

...West Coast police say documentary makers jammed their camera through the window of a police car, breaking it, during a skirmish with anti -1080 protesters at Waitaha yesterday...
Anti -1080 film-makers Clyde and Steve Graf could not be contacted this morning as they were back filming the final throes of the big poison drop in South Westland, but they told TV3 last night their camera was grabbed and the cable broken off in an unprovoked attack by a policeman.

The article goes on to say...

(Inspector John Canning made the following statement)..."As I understand it, the police car pulled up and the camera was jammed through the open window and into the face of an officer."
He said it was the action of one person acting "rudely." "Perhaps that's why a complaint has not been made."

Steve and I were there to film the poison drops, and the protest sites. We were not there to protest, we were quietly going about our business, and were in no way behaving rudely.
In response to the comments that were made in the Greymouth Star, and the Hokitika Guardian, a video clip of the event has been passed to a representative, Mr. Wyn Hibberd, and posted on you-tube, the link is below.

A large truck, laden with 1080 poison, was due to deliver its load to a helicopter loading site. It was between the hours of 7.30pm and 9.30pm on Monday evening, the 5th of July, when the incident unfolded.
Protesters, young and old, had gathered to demonstrate their disapproval of the aerial 1080 poison operation that was to cover 90,000 hectares of the forests that surround their homes.

1080 is a deadly poison that can kill any insect, and any animal that breathes air, including native birds. 1080 (Sodium monofluoroacetate) has no taste, no smell, and no antidote.
It is manufactured in the U.S., in a small factory based in Alabama.
It is dropped from helicopters, contained in attractive food, across New Zealand forests. It is used to target possums and rats, but also kills large numbers of deer, birds, and is also extremely toxic to dogs.

One thing's for sure, the effects of using 1080 poison reach far beyond the forest margins.
The protesters, and the police, are becoming more and more involved with every drop.
1080 is not just poisonous to consume, but it's poisonous in a social context as well.

To view the video clip of the police-protest incident - click here

Friday, July 16, 2010

SPCA need to act on DoC & AHB mass scale, animal cruelty

Over the last month, the west coast of the south island of New Zealand has been subjected to the single largest aerial 1080 poison operation, in New Zealand history. The area covered is over 90,000 hectares.
These drops are happening all across
New Zealand, on a weekly basis

Last Tuesday we were again flown
into the 1080 poison drop zone, through the generosity of helicopter pilot Peter Salter.
We decided to explore the coast side of the road.
The pristine beaches and public highways were given a 150 metre buffer zone. Very generous. Residents and farmers water catchment's are not so fortunate, and as is always the case, poison is dropped directly into all waterways under 3 metres in width, within the drop zones.

We landed on a river bed, and then ventured into the hills.
Soon after arriving, we came across a deer that had been poisoned.
Her head was in the usual position, stretched awkwardly behind
her back, and her legs extended straight out, as is consistent with
the convulsions that increase as death nears.

The bright sunlight was streaming through the canopy,
and illuminated the hind's eye. The massive blood vessel damage was obvious.

Deer are none target animals, and it is illegal to poison deer with 1080 in New Zealand.
Scientists estimate 20,000 deer are poisoned every year with 1080 poison.
How do our bureaucratic authorities get away with it? Easy, they say they are not targeting deer! That simple response, exempts them from prosecution.

A vital point is, it's not just deer that are subjected to this most abhorrent method of animal control - some others included are - dogs, cats, goats, possums, rats, cows, sheep, horses, rabbits, hares, many species of birds, insects, and even people (often considered the least important, and some believe, considered among the rats and possums).

Poisoned animals can take from several hours, to several days to die from 1080 poisoning, and there is NO antidote.
We decided to do an autopsy.
We have been filming and making documentaries on the use of 1080 poison for over 4 years. We are now working on our 3rd, and final, in our trilogy that covers the environmental ecocide that is taking place in New Zealand forests.
Yet, we have never conducted an autopsy on an animal before.
I don't know why!

When we rolled the hind over, it was apparent that blood had been pouring out of her eyes and her mouth.
We have heard reports from farmers that have stated their animals eyes bulge out of their heads after being poisoned with 1080. Seeing is believing.

The second thing we observed was that the deer's bladder was restricted, and contained blood.
We are told by the users of 1080 that poisoned animals do not suffer, and that they simply fall asleep, while dying. Very misleading, indeed!

Steve conducted the autopsy, and he has butchered 1000's of deer, wild and domestic. He was a butcher in the venison works for several years. Our father has also butchered 1000's of wild deer. Never have either seen such internal damage, even by a mislaid bullet!

The hind's lungs were severely damaged.
An animal that has been humanely killed has bright pink, puffy lungs. Not so with a death by 1080 poison!
The lung damage helps to explain the orange froth and blood that is often found oozing from animals nostrils and mouths.
Keep in mind, it takes hours, to days, for these animals to die, and they number in the 1000's, in most aerial poison operations.

The hind's rear end was extremely swollen, bruised, and appeared to be filled with blood.
Steve inspected the area that should normally be clean, and free from hemorrhaging.
Once again, what was revealed was gross bleeding, and obvious, prolonged suffering.

Who are these disturbed people, that spread such distress?
Who are the perpetrators of such horrific animal cruelty?
I'll tell you they're our own Department of Conservation, the Animal Health Board, and the Regional Councils!!!

Why would these people commit such crimes?

Because they choose to be ignorant, and refuse to believe the truth when it stares them in the face. Our field staff simply believe what our authorities tell them - and so they should - but sometimes a little bit of thinking is required, to keep the balance.
A great man once said...
"Unthinking respect for authority, is the greatest enemy of truth!" That was Albert Einstein, and it's as relevant today, as it was when the great man walked the earth.

Parts of this story was published in today's Greymouth Star - minus the photos - the photos were considered too emotive!!!!!!!!

DoC spokesman, Ian Gill stated in that report..."Clyde has simply not found the massive level of carnage that he thought that he would find and so he is playing with people's emotions", he said.
"What he is failing to tell people is that he also knows that gut-shot and wounded deer also die agonising, slow deaths. He has a very selective concern."

Are you serious, Mr. Gill? As was stated, we have never seen such internal damage, even on an accidental, "gut-shot" animal, ever!
We have many years of experience in the venison industry, unlike most employees of DoC, and to try to dismiss this repulsive act, under the guise of emotions, just confirms DoC staff's callous inDoCtrination.

What these animals are put through has nothing to do with emotive! This is fact. This is happening. This is a serious crime, that must end!

There is no disputing that 1080 is too inhumane to be used in this way.

Our brave people in SPCA must add their weight to help stop the perpetrators - that are beyond moral judgement, and ethical behavior.
SPCA, It is time to risk sacrificing your jobs, your relationships with these authorities, and stand up for what you are meant to represent - the humane welfare of animals, domestic or wild!!!

Please keep your eye on the US bill to have 1080 manufacture, import and export, banned.

Comments from a scientist

Below is a recent letter from a scientist that has spent allot of time researching the science behind the use of 1080 in New Zealand. He is writing in response to a request about his and his wife's research...

3rd July, 2010

...In general, DoC/AHB has done little of what even they would call “research” establishing the efficacy and ecosystem safety of dropping food laced with a poison universally toxic to aerobic organisms into forest ecosystems, and what has been done is most often methodologically flawed. Little of it would probably be unpublishable except in NZ.

The focus of our investigation was on the evidence regarding the effect of aerial 1080 on native ecosystems. We have only looked superficially at the evidence regarding AHB’s claim that aerial-1080 is essential to bovine TB control, because that assertion is relatively easily dispelled (in our minds) without direct reference to the “research”, despite its dubiousness.

The evidence showing that possums are an important vector in the transmission of bovine TB is circumstantial. No direct experiments have shown transmission and the decline in infection rates in cattle have been coincident with the implementation of herd testing and control measures. Nonetheless, we have generally avoided taking on those issues because there are clear, less risky, cheaper, and equally effective means of controlling possum populations, especially in the 7 km pasture margins where it may to be important for the control of bovine TB in live stock.

Our Appraisal document is now out of date and critical new evidence and analysis has been done that greatly strengthens the case against aerial-1080. However, it does contain a section at the beginning that explains in lay terms the elements of good experimental design in complex systems.

Finally, I would warn that the principles of statistical inference and their relationship to the structure of experimental design are deep and subtle, there only being a few people in the world who truly understand them. They can be reduced to a few simple rules to be followed, but the real connection between randomization and replication in experimental design and the statistical tests is one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th Century and probably goes beyond what is achievable in a few bullet points. The reason why this is important is that it means to some degree the quality of research becomes an appeal to the authority of “experts”, which almost anyone can claim to be. (Name hidden by blogger)(******** for example is Doc’s standard reference and his is riddled with statistical and methodological errors.) Thus, pursuing the quality of research argument tends to descend into “we do good research” “no you don’t” arguments. (Incidentally, these rules are almost entirely ignored or misinterpreted in the DoC/AHB experiments.)

Dr. Quinn Whiting-Okeefe

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bill to ban the manufacture and export of 1080 introduced to U.S. Congress

Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Congressman John Campbell (R-CA) introduced the Compound 1080 and Sodium Cyanide Elimination Act (H.R.5643) before the U.S. Congess, yesterday (NZ time).
The Bill - To amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to prohibit the use, production, sale, importation, or exportation of the poison sodium fluoroacetate (known as ‘‘Compound 1080’’) and to prohibit the use of sodium cyanide for predator control.
"We are extremely excited about our chances of finally passing this bill to ban these two deadly agents that indiscriminately harm and kill wildlife, pets and people." Said Brooks Fahy, of Predator Defense, who has been working on this issue for several years.
"In the past few years we have garnered significant Congressional support for this legislation and have built a coalition with other environmental organisations that have backed us with their expertise and seasoned political strategists." said Fahy.

This is great News, and sends a clear message to our government ministers and authorities, that here in New Zealand we should be considering the same. For too long this country has been married to the indiscriminate, aerial use of 1080, which puts the welfare of our wildlife and people at great risk. However, Animal Control Products, a New Zealand state owned enterprise based in Wanganui, has a stock pile of 1080 which is estimated will last for several more years, should the U.S. bill be successful.
None the less, this is certainly a step in the right direction, and may open some doors to encourage more critical thinking when it comes to the careless use of 1080, like we see in New Zealand.

Maori Party MP Rahui Katene intends to draft a member's bill to ban the use of 1080 poison.
This is another great move, and indicates clear thinking from The Maori Party.
To view press release - Click Here

To see the US bill, click on this link - Bill to ban 1080