(Clyde Graf photo)

by Nelson lawyer, Sue Grey

any members of the public with interest in these matters could read and research on the benefits of 1080 and on its risks and downsides. That means ignoring the emotive and misleading cries and misinformation from the protest groups. Listen to those who really care about saving our forests and our birds. Know that they recognise that use of the poison 1080 is – at least for now – the only reason many forests are alive with bird song.  Unsigned Otago Daily Times editorial “The Appalling 1080 fanatics” 19 December 2018

People are opposed to poisons for an array of important human rights, ethical, ecological, cultural, scientific and economic reasons. 

It is extremely concerning that our elected representatives have engaged us in a misconceived, expensive and unwinnable “war against nature” without consultation or our informed consent. This call to battle undermines our new Prime Minister’s philosophy of compassion. The state endorsed spying on and media allegations against those who have the courage to publicly hold alternate views, is at odds with state and community concerns about violence and bullying.

1080 baits are scheduled as a deadly poison because they are deadly. The approved labels warns that 1080 poison is ecotoxic, harmful to aquatic organisms and may affect fertility, yet the Minister states it is “safe”. 

Yes 1080 poison baits eventually degrade and dilute in water, but so does cowshit. They are both still contaminants. It breaks down quickly when it is eaten, inhaled or absorbed through damaged skin injuries as it converts to fluorocitrate which is neurotoxic to the brain and which blocks the respiration of mitochondria in every cell of living organisms. It typically kills first the cells with the highest oxygen demand, such as sperm, and heart tissue. It is a cruel and slow death.

Once the animal is dead, 1080 may remain stable and toxic in its carcass for many months- potentially killing dogs and birds, and contaminating wild pork, puha, honey and trout in our food chain.  

Some of the most incredible birdsong in New Zealand is in locations which have never been poisoned.  Our kiwi, kea and kaka will not all die if we stop using poison. Nature finds its equilibrium. Research shows that poison baits kill birds and poison their food. Sudden changes promote rat plagues and prey switching by stoats from rat to bird.

 New Zealand is a democratic state where informed conversation should be encouraged not quashed by media. Responsible media must seek to understand, rather than ridicule those who advocate for a return to clean water, safe and uncontaminated wild and farmed food and community and environmental wellbeing.

(For the full ODT editorial, see here )