Digital Edition – January 2019 (#214)

1080: Protecting The Environment?
(Part III)

by Shelley Hedges

This is the final article in the 1080 series and will look at how 1080 is delivered, any potential revenue losses for NZ, the results after 60 years of using 1080 and the alternatives?

Doc employs an aerial dispersal method, usually by helicopter. This method has major issues with accuracy. Pilots use a GPs layout in an attempt to hit targeted areas. This is affected by wind and the height from which the poison is dropped. Wind blows baits onto waterways, private land and untargeted, often public, areas; and the higher you go, the larger the spread, which means an overflow into non-targeted areas. Eye witnesses have reported that the 3,000 ft altitude target has been violated by pilots who have dropped from up to 6,000 ft. [1] The process of loading and delivering baits creates concerns due to the dust from the 1080 pellets. Wind from spinning blades spreads the dust far beyond the loading area, and spreads the dust over all areas beneath the flight path. [2] New Zealand toxicologist Charles Eason warned that if 1080 baits “. . . are not . . . used with extreme care; humans, livestock, and non-target wildlife will be put at risk.” The amount of emergency cleanups DoC has been involved in this year shows that ‘extreme care’ is not being used. According to the ERMA hearings on 1080, high levels of bait dust was detected outside the treatment areas . . . “1080 residues in water, plant, leaf litter and soil samples after 2 of the 3 baiting operations”. [3] Clean up of the aftermath of the 1080 poison drops are also a worry. 1080 manufacturer’s warnings state ALL carcasses MUST be removed and either burned or buried to prevent secondary poisoning. DoC does not do ANY clearing of carcasses – they remain on the ground and in our waterways until they rot. A common excuse used by DoC is that 1080 is required for areas which are inaccessible – if they are inaccessible how does DoC carry out the required carcass pick up? The answer is - they don’t’. [4] This demonstrates that ‘inaccessible areas’ should NOT be poisoned in the first place. [5] TBfree and OSPRI have an annual combined budget of over $80 million; 50% of which is spent on aerial dispersal. The NZ govt has committed to continue until 2050. [6] The 1080 toxin, which is rated A1 internationally (A1 means ‘lethal to all forms of life’ – just pause and think about what that means for a moment.), has been used in NZ for the last 60 years which is long enough to know whether it works, or not. [7] According to DoC, OSPRI, Forest & Bird, Animal Health Board, Landcare Research and The Morgan Foundation it is working, but not well enough. Meaning we must increase the area and dosage of 1080 almost annually. The pests are the same or sometimes worse – not in line with their ‘complete eradication goal’. On top of all that, apparently TBfree say, NZ is still not able to declare TB free yet. [8] DoC claims the control of bovine tuberculosis as a reason for using 1080, yet only 54 possums have tested positive for TB in the last 10 years; and according to international standards New Zealand has been able to declare itself TB free for the last decade. The world standard for TB free is 0.1%; NZ’s rating is 0.0014%. Only 763 cattle out of 10,032, tested positive at slaughter for TB in 2015 – this is a 0.0014% ranking; well under the 0.1% level to declare NZ Internationally TB Free. On top of this current overseas research indicates that with modern intensive farming, TB is spread mostly by herd movement, not wild animals. [9] The excuse of fighting TB is an invalid one. After 60 years of using this particular form of pest control for our country, it has not worked on pest populations and in fact makes the rat problem worse, due to their quick population rate recovery. [10] If we were to stop using 1080, we would have to return to bounties for trapping and killing; along with the added incentives of additional income from meat and fur. There are a wide variety of traps now available, some which re-set themselves for up to six months. There are also a lot of un-employed youth in New Zealand rural towns. [11] So why do we need 1080 if modern traps are effective, especially when combined with the new financial incentives around possum fur and meat? [12] Farmers are levied to fund a $100 million per year poisoning programme; are they paying for nothing and at the same time missing out on a source of revenue? Carol Gray from ‘The Possum People’ says Merino wool returns mid-$20 per kilo, and Cashmere approx $56.00 US per kilo, while Possum fur fibre can fetch up to $130 per kilo because it is one of top valued fibres in the world. Possum fur and possum meat could be regarded as an untapped resource; instead our government is killing them in the most toxic inhumane way possible. Would farmers be better off financially by not paying the levy, and instead utilising the untapped possum fur and meat resources on their own land? [13] To sum up the method of application of 1080 is careless and irresponsible, NZ is already TB free, inaccessible areas prevent the cleanup of carcasses, DoC does not do any carcass cleanup at all, and the possum is an untapped resource for fur and meat. All of this shows that the use of 1080 in NZ should be halted immediately.

REFERENCES 1) Eastwood, Vinnie. “Keep NZ Rivers 1080 Poison Free! PLEASE SHARE!”. 2 June 2016. Accessed 12 March 2017. 2) “The main conclusion that can be drawn . . . is that dust drift can occur over a considerable distance off=site (at least 1 km)”. ERMA Hearings. 2007. Accessed 6 March 2017. 3) “Cattle die after 1080 poison drop in Waikato”. The Graf Boys. 25 May 2014. Accessed 12 March 2017. Keep NZ Rivers 1080 Poison Free! PLEASE SHARE! Vinny Eastwood. 23 June 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 4) www.stats.govt/infoshare/ 5) The Blog. Predator Free NZ. Accessed 27 March 2012. 6) Eastwood, Vinnie. “NZ Animals Killed for No Reason in $*)m Yearly 1080 Drops”. 2 September 2016. Accessed 12 March 22017. 7) Eastwood, Vinnie. “Keep NZ Rivers 1080 Poison Free! PLEASE SHARE!”. 2 June 2016. Accessed 12 March 2017. 8) Palisson, Aurore. Courcoul, Aurelie. Durand, Benoit. “Role of Cattle Movements in Bovine Tuberculosis Spread in Franch between 2005 and 2014. PLOS. 28 March, 2016. Accessed 12 March, 2017. 9) Palisson, Aurore. Courcoul, Aurelie. Durand, Benoit. “Role of Cattle Movements in Bovine Tuberculosis Spread in Franch between 2005 and 2014. PLOS. 28 March, 2016. Accessed 12 March, 2017. 10) “Uselessness of 1080”. 1080 Science. Accessed 27 March 2017. 11) Howard, Quintin. “The death and life of small New Zealand towns”. Back to the Future 2015. 15 April, 2015. Accessed 27 March, 2017. 12) “Kill Traps”. Predator Free NZ. Where to buy equipment. Where to buy traps. 5 September, 2016. Accessed 27 March, 2017. 13) Carroll, Joanne. “Possum Hunting on the West Coast”. Stuff. 24 June 2016. Accessed 25 March 2017.

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elocal Digital Edition – January 2019 (#214)

elocal Digital Edition
January 2019 (#214)