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1080 True or False?

1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) has become widely well know as the go-to pesticide in New Zealand for treating the out of control possum numbers threatening native wildlife and our forestry’s. With New Zealand being the largest user of ‘Biodegradable 1080’, around 80% of the world's supply, we are given contradictory opinions about its lethality and effectiveness. For example The ‘Department of Conservation’ and ‘Animal Health Board’ advocate for its use claiming it is the best solution for controlling pest numbers yet many groups such as ‘Ban 1080’ dispute its use claiming it causes more damage than good. It's hard to know who is correct and telling the truth with so many contradicting opinions. Should 1080 be used in aerial drops? Or are there better options for control possum and rat numbers that result in less collateral damage?

Facts From ‘Department of Conservation’:

  • There are no native ‘ground-dwelling’ mammals that are affected by its use.
  • Aerial application of 1080 is the most cost-effective tool for controlling pests over large and inaccessible areas’
  • 1080 is Biodegradable, dilutes quickly in water and does not build up in the food chain.
  • Hundreds of water tests have been taken after 1080 operations and drinking water standards have never been breached.
  • Use of 1080 for pest control is strictly regulated and closely monitored to protect people and the environment from harm.
  • Amphibious animals and fish are almost immune.
  • Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in 2011 and 2013 found there were no practical alternatives.
  • Zero Kiwi have died as a result of 1080 poisoning.

Facts From ‘Forrest and Bird’:

  • One aerial drop can kill over 95% of possums and close to 100% of rats in the targeted area.
  • 1080 is biodegradable and quickly breaks down into non-toxic by-products.
  • Monitoring of public water supplies has never shown contamination by 1080
  • There are no recorded cases of 1080 operations causing harm to human health.
  • Feral deer are sometimes killed by 1080.
  • Dogs are particularly sensitive to 1080 and are usually poisoned when they ear the carcass of an animal that has been killed by 1080.
  • No detachable effect on aquatic life in steams was found.

Facts From ‘1080 Facts’

  • Strict notification procedures are followed prior to all 1080 operations, including the approval of the local public Medical Officer of Health.
  • 1080 is toxic to dogs
  • Farmers are generally vier supportive of 1080 and there is no evidence of any ‘cover-ups’ of stock deaths arising from 1080 use.
  • Kiwi chick survival more than doubled in Tongariro Forest in 2006 after a dramatic reduction in pest numbers following a 1080 operation.

Facts From ‘Ban 1080’

  • In most other countries 1080 is banned outright and severely restricted because of its lethality and its indiscriminate killing power.
  • It is estimated that 20,000 deer are poisoned by 1080 each year.
  • Independent research has gathered overwhelming evidence of harm to some native species from aerial 1080 operations.
  • 19 different native bird species have had corpses test positive for 1080 after aerial 1080 operations.
  • There is no credible scientific evidence that mass poisoning the forest ecosystems with aerial 1080 is of net benefit to native species.
  • Clear alternative methods of pest control are available but are not adequately promoted or explored whilst there remains a total reliance by DOC/AHB on aerial 1080 operations.

Facts From ‘1080 Science’

  • Small doses of fluoroacetate increase the resistance in rats to challenging doses of fluoroacetate or 4-fluoroborate.
  • Aerial 1080 is not effective in controlling stoats or rats on the mainland, in fact, its use is associated with rapid increases in numbers of stoats, rats, and mice
  • Trapping is effective for catching multiple pest species (including stoats, ferrets, weasels, rats, cats, possums, hedgehogs & mice)
  • There is no credible evidence of countervailing net ecosystem benefit.
  • Monofluoroacetate (1080) is a metabolic poison that is extremely toxic to all air-breathing organisms.

These are only a fraction of ‘facts’ available on the internet that support and dispute the use of 1080 in New Zealand. Are these facts true or false? Give us your opinion in the comments section on Facebook about the use of 1080 and whether it's used is justified or not.

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Pat March 07, 2018

Sodium fluoroacetate HAS NO ANTIDOTE. How and when was human toxicological information obtained? Standard practice is not to avoid water ways (check out Doc’s flight path grids). Pellets dropped into the waterways are voraciously eaten by koura and trout, which are unaffected by sodium fluoroacetate at extremely high levels. Telling anglers not to eat trout for 8 days after a drop is irresponsible when the cited scientific trial found sodium fluoroacetate levels thousands of times in excess of that permitted in food after 4 days. It is also notable that in a natural stream environment trout are often caught with several pellets in their gut compared to the 1/4 pellet fed to the trout in the controlled trial. Sodium fluoroacetate is in our food chain.

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