I am loathe to write this and fully expect to get a flood of angry emails once its gone to press. If you are one of them, please do your research first.
1080 is a fascinating compound, second only to the fascinating and hugely successful smear campaign that has been spread against its use over the past three decades.
I’ve worked with 1080 for many years and learning all about it was a hugely interesting time for me.
Back in the golden days of pest control 60’s, 70’s, and even the 80’s, 1080 was spread liberally from aircraft on cut carrots and oats; the doses were strong and the size of baits was not really monitored.
In some areas very high kill rates of birds were recorded and this led to some extremely thorough research.
Basically it was found that birds were attracted to the small and brightly coloured pieces of bait. Subsequently, changes were made in the application of 1080 such as ensuring all baits were of a certain size, dying all baits a green colour so they didn’t look like food items and reducing the toxin strength. All these changes played a part in developing the successful and safe method the Government still uses to this day.
During the early 90’s we started hearing a lot of anti-1080 rhetoric from certain members of the deer stalking community, which was opposed to 1080 for possum control as it also killed the deer that deer stalkers like to shoot. Of course, this group completely missed the point that deer are also a pest and very hard on New Zealand bush.
Two of them quickly gained notoriety by making claims of poisoned waterways and mass bird deaths. I don’t know whether it was intentional or not but this talk reached the ears of the greenies and the rest is history.
Today we have tens of thousands of people who have been deliberately mis-led about the facts of 1080 and are opposed to its use based entirely on the cooked up science of a couple of blokes that wanted to protect their deer shooting.
This has been one very clever and hugely successful smear campaign; so successful, in fact, that even after decades of independent reviews finding the use of 1080 to be perfectly safe and well managed, the anti-1080 group is stronger than ever; go figure huh!
Okay, so if 1080 is so safe how come it is banned in the United States? Well, 1080 kills in two ways depending what eats it. In an herbivore it inhibits energy production and is extremely humane. If eaten by a carnivore e.g. dog, fox etc it sets up real problems within the central nervous system leading to rapid death.
Carnivores are the most susceptible of all animals to 1080. The USA has a lot of extremely endangered carnivores and this is the only reason it is not used there. So there you are – one of the most commonly used points against 1080 is shut down in a single paragraph.
But, gosh, is there more we have been misled about? You bet there is, its almost comedic to see some of the nonsense trotted out by many anti-1080 people, some of whom think they are fighting for the environment but are actually just supporting the mis-information of a couple of savvy deer shooters!
Look forward to hearing from y’all.
By Ditch Keeling, Coastal Pest Solutions