I’m a latecomer to the “1080” debate.
It first came to my attention about 4-5 months ago when a small group of people walked down the main street of Alexandra holding some placards with the lead member yelling out that Jacinda was poisoning our children.
A few weeks later I was watching rugby with a friend and he talked about how DoC (Department of Conservation) were dropping 1080 bait and killing our wildlife and poisoning our water.
After looking at a few posts that came up on my newsfeed, I decided to do my own research and find out a bit more about this quite remarkable situation.
I had no pre-conceived ideas or bias and was genuinely sitting on the fence so I thought it would be interesting to see where my research took me.
I asked for information and received many messages and emails from people on both sides of the debate. I also undertook my own investigation of the most credible and respected sources I could find.
I have drawn the following conclusions.
1. Science supports 1080 as a control mechanism. The credible, respectable and peer-reviewed scientific papers and reports that I could find, or was given, almost all support the use of 1080 poison as a way to control our predators and give our flora, fauna and birdlife a fighting chance of survival given the size, scope and terrain of the territory involved. The science also seems to show that the 1080 poison itself poses little risk to humans and minimal harm to our environment. Most of what the anti-1080 groups claim are scientific reports or “proofs” are, in my opinion, at best pseudoscience, or at worst, opinions masquerading as facts.
2. Political will supports the use of 1080 as a control mechanism. There is a broad consensus across the political spectrum that using 1080 is not just beneficial but crucial. Given that we have recently had a change of government bringing a significantly different agenda and focus on the environment, but an unchanged stance on the use of 1080 poison, it seems unlikely that they would continue down a track of deliberately poisoning our country. The claims of a conspiracy and that all our politicians (and political system for that matter) are corrupt have no evidence to back them up and are destroyed immediately by any logical thought process.
3. Evidence supports the use of 1080 as a control mechanism. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and the resurgence in native birdlife is documented time and time again after the dropping of 1080 poison.
So that is some of what I have found during my research but let me make clear of course that I don’t have first-hand experience of 1080, I am not a qualified researcher, my thought-process may be flawed and my interpretation of data may be skewed.
However, what I have found to be a very reliable and credible way of drawing conclusions about issues is to look at what motivates certain actions.
The pro-1080 groups seem unanimous in their claims that dropping poison is the best way to save our native flora, fauna and birdlife. Why? Because for all 1080’s faults it’s the best control available at this stage. That’s a logical reasonable claim.
The anti-1080 groups claim that DoC, our government and any number of other respected organisations, are not just lying about 1080’s effects but are deliberately and callously poisoning our country with a flagrant disregard for our wildlife, environment, waterways and children.
Why? What is the motivation behind this mass poisoning of Aotearoa? Well I can’t answer that but I invite you to join a Ban 1080 page or group and draw your own conclusions.
As for me, I have come out squarely on the side of DoC and while I’m sure they have and will make mistakes, good on them for doing what they do.