There was promising news for the environment in New Zealand today.
The Press is running a story saying that the US Congress is to be presented with a bill that will ban the production and export of the poison 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate) of which New Zealand is the world’s single largest user, taking almost all of the production.
Sodium fluoroacetate slowly decomposes in soil and water in low temperatures, resulting in continued persistence in the environment. Damage to non-target native species occurs and varies depending on the species. In New Zealand the assumption is made that the environmental costs of using sodium fluoroacetate are less than the benefits but research is needed to verify this stance. source
1080 is so toxic (there is no antidote) that it is intended to only be used in enclosed environments (such as warehouses) where exposure can be carefully controlled, however in New Zealand tonnes of the substance are dropped from helicopters every year in an effort to control possum, rats, deer and small mammals; often killing native wildlife in the process.
DOC briefed the USA’s EPA in support of 1080
New Zealand’s Dept of Conservation went to the extraordinary measure of supporting the use, and production, of 1080 by briefing the USA’s EPA on how it’s used in New Zealand. Despite massive protests from many sectors of the NZ public (including farmers and local councils) about the widespread use of the poison over thousands of hectares of land and the damage it does to the environment.
“Congressman Peter DeFazio made his third attempt to have 1080 banned when he introduced the bill to the US Congress last week. The Oregon politician introduced similar bills in 2005 and 2007.
DOC spokesman Rory Newsam said it was well aware of the latest bill and DeFazio’s previous efforts to ban 1080. It had briefed the US administration’s Environmental Protection Agency in 2008 on 1080’s role in stopping the spread of bovine TB and protecting the country’s bush and birds, he said.
An Animal Health Board spokesman was also aware of DeFazio’s efforts. The bill’s success would have an impact on its fight against bovine TB. The US agency was aware New Zealand’s 1080 use had been deemed safe by the 2007 Environmental Risk Management Authority review, he said.
However, Clyde Graf, co-producer of documentary Poisoning Paradise – Ecocide in New Zealand, said the bill sent a message to New Zealand that it should be considering the same action. “For too long, this country has been married to the indiscriminate aerial use of 1080.”
American 1080 opponents believed the current bill had a better chance of success. Brooks Fahy, of the US-based Predator Defence, said he was excited about the chance of finally getting the bill passed. “We have garnered significant congressional support for this legislation and have built a coalition with other environmental organisations.”
Update 2017: The Sentor’s press release on the bill link
Mar 30, 2017
Today Congressman Peter DeFazio introduced H.R. 1817, the Chemical Poisons Reduction Act of 2017, legislation that would ban the use of the lethal poisons Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide for predator control efforts.
The bill is supported by the national wildlife advocacy group Predator Defense, as well as the Humane Society.
“I have been trying to ban the indiscriminate use of lethal devices and poisons like Compound 1080 and the chemicals used in M-44 devices for decades, even as a Lane County Commissioner,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio, (D-OR). “The use of these deadly toxins by Wildlife Services has led to countless deaths of family pets and innocent animals and injuries to humans. It is only a matter of time before they kill someone. These extreme so-called ‘predator control’ methods have been proven no more effective than non-lethal methods—the only difference between the two is that the lethal methods supported by the ranching industry are subsidized by American tax dollars.”
“The fact that Wildlife Services continues to state that incidents of M-44s killing domestic dogs and exposing people to poison are ‘rare’ is an outrage,” said Brooks Fahy, Executive Director, Predator Defense. “Those of us involved with this issue know these incidents are common-place and that countless more will never be known because of Wildlife Services’ repeated cover-ups. We applaud this legislation and thank Congressman DeFazio for his unfailing support on this issue.”
“It’s high time for our own federal government to stop using sodium cyanide and Compound 1080 on our public lands,” said Wayne Pacelle, Executive Director, the Humane Society Legislative Fund.” These two poisons are highly lethal but completely indiscriminate. They endanger children, beloved family pets, grizzly bears, wolves and bald eagles alike. And the deaths they cause are violent and inhumane.”
Compound 1080 is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless poison with no antidote. Although the EPA banned Compound 1080 in 1972, after intense lobbying from the livestock industry, it was re-approved for use in the “Livestock Protection Collar” (collars containing the poison that are placed around the necks of sheep and burst when punctured by a predator, barbed wire, or other sharp object) in 1985. Each of these collars contains enough poison to kill 6 adult humans.
Sodium cyanide is contained within M-44 devices, which are spring-activated ejectors that deliver a deadly dose of poison when pulled on. The top of the ejector is wrapped with an absorbent material that has been coated with a substance that attracts canines. When the device is activated, a spring ejects the poison. The force of the ejector can spray the cyanide granules up to five feet.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Wildlife Services Agency regularly uses both of these poisons in their predator control programs, which are subsidized by the taxpayer. States contract with federal predator control programs to keep so-called ‘predator’ populations down to help ranchers protect their livestock.
The use of these poisons has led to the deaths of endangered animals and domesticated dogs, and has injured multiple people in the past. Most recently, three domestic dogs were killed in Idaho and Wyoming and a teenage boy was nearly poisoned after he accidentally detonated an M-44 device.
“The federal government should not be using these extreme measures,” Rep. Defazio added. “It’s time to stop subsidizing ranchers’ livestock protection efforts with taxpayer dollars and end the unchecked authority of Wildlife Services once and for all.”
We hope the bill will get the support it deserves, the third time could well be the charm especially after the success of the Graf brothers’ film, was shown within the AMRISTA film network at film festivals.
There’s a high likelihood that NZ based environmental organisations and pressure groups will be bringing pressure on congress to pass the bill, we wish them every success with that.
Even if the bill succeeds 1080 use will continue in New Zealand for some years to come as there is thought to be about $10 million worth of the substance stockpiled in the country. That will give DOC and other users plenty of time to find alternative methods of controlling pests.
Doc and the 1080 Fraud – by the KAKA group
Stop 1080! – A NZ based Facebook group.
New Pro-1080 Alliance Lacks Sustainability Vision: – Press release from The Soil and Health Association of NZ
Posts tagged 1080