New Zealand’s use of 1080 was been criticised internationally as word of the poison and its cruelty leaked out.
Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, US, said 1080 was an extremely cruel poison.
“New Zealand’s continuing war on wildlife is one of the most inhumane assaults on non-human animals and a wide variety of pristine landscapes, air and water,” he said.
World renowned conservationist Dr Jane Goodall also condemned New Zealand’s use of aerial 1080 saying there were more humane ways of dealing with ‘invasive pests”.
But New Zealand’s immediate past Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (2007-2017) Dr Jan Wright whose degrees were in physics and public policy, had called for more 1080 poison to be used when she held her government appointed and paid position.
Dr Bekoff said New Zealand continued to have major animal welfare issues around its use of 1080 which had been criticised internationally with a growing number of people extremely concerned with the country’s “war on wildlife.”
He was particularly critical of the New Zealand government’s practice of allowing schools to hold possum killing exercises.
In addition to adults taking part in this widespread massacre, youngsters also were being trained to harm and to kill non-native animals in school-sanctioned programmes he said.
Some critics have noted a relationship between such barbaric teaching and that New Zealand with just 5 million people, continued to rank among countries with the highest levels of domestic violence.
Dr Bekoff said he continually received emails from people appalled at the barbaric way in which millions of animals were killed and beautiful environments destroyed by ecosystem poisons such as 1080, and were also deeply concerned at the brutal and inhumane slaughter.
He was particularly critical of a report on 1080 poison by the then government’s environment commissioner Dr Jan Wright and described it as biased and uninformed. Her report rated 1080 as “moderately humane.”
However in a New Zealand review of the toxicology and ecotoxicology of 1080, Dr. Charles Eason and his colleagues noted there were animal health implications in the use of 1080.
The review said, “In carnivores, and notably in dogs, central nervous system disturbances are marked, and poisoned dogs run uncontrollably, retch and vomit, and appear distressed and agitated with prolonged involuntary muscle contractions exacerbated by convulsions and seizures prior to death from respiratory failure.”
The poison 1080, takes up to a day or two or more to slowly kill a creature, depending on the amount of toxin ingested.
Dr Bekoff said being poisoned with 1080 clearly made for a horrific death.
“So, it’s time to stop the meaningless talk about 1080 being “moderately humane” or that it amounts to “killing with kindness. The latter phrase was put forth by Nicola Toki, the Threatened Species Ambassador of New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DoC), and is a misleading and troublesome oxymoron that covers up the hate and violence with which possums and other animals are vilified as “the enemy,” It’s a perversion of the word kindness.”
Most people abhorred cruelty to animals, but nonetheless, Dr. Wright and others clearly thought it was just fine to intentionally do things that they knew would cause deep pain and suffering he added.
“It was high time for New Zealand to stop using 1080 and other environmental poisons once and for all ,” said Dr Bekoff.
New Zealand could easily become a global model for banning the use of 1080 and other horrific environmental poisons and adopting non-lethal methods for dealing with any problems at hand.
“And, educators should stop teaching children that it’s okay to harm and to kill other animals, because this also doesn’t work and establishes a horrific model for future generations,” he said.
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