Thursday, December 15, 2011

Government Guilty of "Reckless" 1080 Deaths

By NORMAN JONES - Peninsula Press.

The government and its agencies can now be prosecuted and fined up to $350,000 for the suffering and death of animals exposed to 1080 poison...

New legislation to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) policy earlier this year made it an offense to kill through the ‘reckless’ use of 1080.

And with a  Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) statement saying that one agency - the Department of Conservation (DOC) - are effectively ‘drift netting’ forests "... causing uncounted deaths of both indigenous and introduced species," legislation has to be put into place to stop this widespread 'illegal' suffering of animals.

Speaking this week, Robyn Kippenberger, National Chief Executive, Royal New Zealand SPCA said “Whilst there is no provision in the AWA 1999 to take action on the poisoning of a ‘pest animal’ ... amendments to the legislation in July of this year provide for the reckless ill-treatment of any animal.  

"Should an operator be reckless in the application of 1080 (i.e. outside of the designated boundary) and a domestic or production animal suffers unnecessary pain and suffering as a result, the SPCA would consider prosecuting under *Section 28A of the AWA 1991.

She said the the SPCA, although recognising the need for possum control, urgently urged the government to seek more human alternatives.

“While it is proven that cyanide is a considerably more humane poison to control possums, the SPCA acknowledges that its application in deeply forested areas is not practical.

“The SPCA is totally opposed to the use of 1080 in the control of wild deer as death in this species has been shown to be agonizing and protracted with significant suffering. It is of deep concern that the Department of Conservation are using this method to control deer numbers as 1080 is not licensed as a poison to control this species.”

She added that, “As 1080 is not species specific, the SPCA is extremely concerned by the ‘by-kill’ resulting from the application of 1080.  It is effectively ‘drift netting' of the forest causing uncounted deaths of both indigenous and introduced species.

“Irrespective of all arguments on both sides of the 1080 debate, scientific evidence proves that most affected animals will die an agonising and likely prolonged death.”

To watch a documentary on the use of 1080 poison in New Zealand, please click here

[Animal Welfare Act:*Section - 28A -  Reckless ill-treatment of animals: (1) A person commits an offence if that person recklessly ill-treats an animal with the result that: (a) the animal is permanently disabled; or (b) the animal dies; or (c) the pain or distress caused to the animal is so great that it is necessary to destroy the animal in order to end its suffering; or (d) the animal is seriously injured or impaired.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(d), an animal is seriously injured or impaired if the injury or impairment: (a) involves - (i) prolonged pain and suffering; or (ii) a substantial risk of death; or (iii) loss of a body part; or (iv) permanent or prolonged loss of a bodily function; and (b) requires treatment by or under the supervision of a veterinarian. (3) A person who commits an offence against this section is liable on conviction on indictment - (a) in the case of an individual, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to a fine not exceeding $75,000 or to both:

(b) in the case of a body corporate, to a fine not exceeding $350,000.

Section 28A: inserted, on 7 July 2010, by section 5  HYPERLINK "" of the Animal Welfare Amendment Act 2010 (2010 No 93).

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