Tuesday, 12 December 2017

10-80 Poisoning in New Zealand

At Last Some Progress on an Interminable Argument

New Zealand is one of the last countries in the world to use 10-80 poison.  The government drops This poison in pellet form from helicopters throughout the bush and farmland to kill off possums--a destructive pest.  For years deer stalkers and others have complained that the poison is also consumed by deer--which then go on to die painful deaths.  Others have complained that birds also are vulnerable to 10-80.

This poison is used sparingly in a few countries of the world  (Australia, some states in the United States, the Galapagos Islands, Israel and Japan).  New Zealand is the biggest user of the poison.

Those opposing the use of 10-80 have never been in a position to prove that deer and birds are susceptible to aerially dropped 10-80.  It is all allegation, conjecture, or mistaken claims of causation.  Or, at least, that is how their "narrative" gets dismissed.

Now, for the first time we are aware of, some comprehensive (albeit, initial) research is being undertaken.

Hunters have paid for scientists to fly over a 1080 drop, thought to be behind hundreds of dead deer, to count carcasses.  The toxic bait was dropped over a third of Molesworth Station, the country's largest farm, by helicopter in October as part of a national possum control operation.  The Marlborough branch of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association then hired two helicopters to methodically sweep the area, having planned the survey in advance.

Branch treasurer Wayne Smith said members had been concerned about the effect of 1080 on deer for many years, reporting large numbers killed in the operations.  "As soon as we heard about the latest 1080 programme we got in touch with scientists around the country," Smith said.  The goal of the study was to get a better idea of the numbers of deer that would likely be killed in a 1080 drop, and inform public debate, Smith said. [Stuff]
We think this is a much needed development.  To hire independent scientists to conduct the "count" of carcasses is the only way the research could be regarded as independent.
Smith would not speculate on the total number of deer killed until scientists completed the report early next year . . . . We want to actually get some scientific numbers, and hopefully that will inform conversations about the effects of 1080."  The association's South Island branches and a Givealittle page raised money to fund the study, expected to cost more than $20,000, Smith said.
We will be very interested in the results of this scientifically conducted independent survey.  Hopefully it will enable us to move beyond the anecdotal, speculative and ad hominem discourse that to date has swirled around the controversy.

Well done, New Zealand Deerstalkers (Marlborough Branch).

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