NZ’s Predator Free 2050 “Unethical, Unnecessary, and Unrealistic”

New Zealand’s Predator Free 2050 programme aims to eradicate key introduced mammals to the country by 2050 in order to conserve endangered species.
This eradication programme using slow killing poisons, causes a prolonged death agony of intense suffering for millions of animals. Besides target animals such as possums, rats and stoats, poison victims also include native endangered birds, farm animals and companion animals, in particular dogs.
Dr Koen Margodt, JGI Global Ethics Committee Chair in an in-depth study has argued the Predator Free concept is unethical, unnecessary and unrealistic. He has called for an immediate ban on the poisons, i.e. 1080 and brodifacoum and states that the Predator Free 2050 programme has a one sided focus on introduced mammals rather than considering other causes such as habitat destruction and dairy farming which are greatly impactful. In his study Koen Margot recommends the New Zealand government should invest in alternative, compassionate conservation solutions.

Dr. Koen Margodt

What is ‘Predator Free 2050’?
In 2012 the late physicist Sir Paul Callaghan called for an ‘Apollo Programme’ for New Zealand, which was namely the elimination of introduced mammals which were held responsible for bringing many native species in jeopardy. The work by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, has been the main catalyst resulting in the PF 2050 strategy. Wright has directed the attention to possums, rats and stoats in particular, which she describes as an “evil triumvirate.” Wright recommends eradicating these animals by using the poison 1080, which is seen as the only cost-effective solution to reach this target. PF 2050 has been called “the world’s most ambitious predator management programme” by then Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry. The goal of this programme is indeed enormous, given the large size of New Zealand.
It is beyond doubt that many species in New Zealand are threatened with extinction. In a 2010 study of 179 countries, New Zealand holds the worst place in terms of its proportion of threatened species (reference Bradshaw et al., 2010: 8).

Dr Jane Goodall – devastated by cruel methods such as poisoning

During lectures in New Zealand, eminent British scientist Jane Goodall was asked repeatedly about her thoughts on the killing of introduced predators. While recognising the impact of introduced species, Dr. Goodall called for finding more humane ways than poisoning. 
Dr. Goodall commented“For many years I have been devastated by the cruel methods used to kill predators because of their supposed danger to livestock or human life – such as leg hold traps or poison baits. Only too often the targeted animals die slow deaths in extreme pain. Moreover, other non-target animals are often killed in the same way.
“The campaign in New Zealand to exterminate all non-native animals in order to save the country’s unique indigenous species from invasive species who were introduced, intentionally or unintentionally, relies on the use of poisons which are known to cause intense suffering and agonising deaths. As I read more and more about this plan I became increasingly concerned. And I was deeply shocked when I learned that school children were told that possums were evil and taught to kill them in any number of cruel ways.”

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8 Responses to NZ’s Predator Free 2050 “Unethical, Unnecessary, and Unrealistic”

  1. Dr. Charlie Baycroft says:

    Most rational and objective people have already understood that this PF2050 ambition is cruel, unethical, dangerous and doomed to fail.
    It is also an horrendously expensive waste of our hard earned incomes.

    Why does it continue?

    You need to understand how our political system has been operating and whose benefit it serves.

    3 political parties have a monopoly in choosing which politicians the voters can choose between and also what those politicians will have to do if elected.

    There are small groups of elite members in these parties who have most of the authority and power.

    We do not see these party elites or ever learn what their agendas and ambitions really are. They are by definition CABALS.

    These 3 cabals have decided who our government EMPLOYEES will be for the past 50 years. During that time, the ordinary working people have become steadily worse off and forced to sustain their standard of living by debt instead of incomes.
    The members of the cabals and their financially elite friends and supporters have greatly increased their wealth so that the wealth gap between the elite minority and the ordinary majority has widened as never before.

    The members of these 3 cabals have become so intoxicated and corrupted by their authority and power that they are now becoming tyrants.

    The only solution for tyranny is REVOLUTION but no-one wants a violent and bloody revolution.

    A peaceful and non-violent revolution would be better and is very easy to achieve.

    The people just withdraw their support from the 3 cabals and the political celebrities they want in our government.

    We do not have to keep voting Red, green or blue. There are other parties and people who would like to be our EMPLOYEES who have not become corrupted by authority and power over us.
    These new employees would listen to what the people say and want and try to serve us well if we gave them a chance to prove their worth.

    We cannot change the culture and power structure of the 3 main parties but we can change ourselves and who we decide should be in our government.
    We should do this because our Democracy has become an Oligarchy and our employees have become tyrants.

    Red, Green and Blue
    You don’t know what to do
    We’ve had enough of you
    We will hire someone new.

    Let’s do this in the next elections!

  2. Dave says:

    It is well past time to stop this foolish poisoning of our forests to get rid of something that has lived alongside each other for hundreds of years. The cruel way in which it kills the animals is just not on. Surly in 60 years of poisoning we would have lernt by now .

  3. Stewart Hydes says:

    Predator Free 2050 may be an ambitious, aspirational goal.
    But it fails the SMART test – and should indeed be abandoned IMMEDIATELY.
    It may be Specific .. and possibly Measurable (although that’s highly unlikely).
    But it’s simply not Achievable, Realistic, nor framed within a reasonable Timeframe.
    This makes it DOWNRIGHT IRRESPONSIBLE, and a nigh-on-criminal waste of taxpayer’s money. It’s a gravy train – and one that will keep civil servants and others in a job for their entire, futile careers.
    We hate to think what has been wasted on it already .. but we’re talking hundreds of millios of dollars, at least.
    A senior Landcare Research Science Team Leader estimated a cost range to ERADICATE Possums, Rats and Mustelids as $200,000-plus per hectare.
    To try and imagine that number a little better – it’s $1,500,000,000,000.
    Or, one thousand, 500 billion. $1,500 BILLION DOLLARS.
    And that’s only to eradicate across around ONE-THIRD of New Zealand.
    Consider how easy it is to get the first ones – but how the cost to eradicate increases exponentially, as the population shrinks.
    Imagine the cost of trying to get the last Possum, Rat and/or Stoat – in a country that is 26 MILLION HECTARES in size.
    To put things into perspective – Captain Cook set sail from England in 1768 in a 32 metre vessel – and returned almost 3 years later, in 1771. With the latest technology available at the time – he couldn’t eliminate rats from his 107-foot boat.
    Now, technology sure has advanced in the last 250 years. But at 26 million hectares, New Zealand is a bit larger – and it’s geography is a bit more challenging – than what by today’s standards was a fairly small ship.
    That’s not to mention another whole dimension of the IRRESPONSIBILITY of this ludicrous goal.
    Predator Free 2050 is being used as a major part of the current justification to spread thousands of tonnes of a WHO Class 1A ecotoxin .. across millions of hectares of pristine bush and backcountry .. killing target and non-target species alike.
    We live on a planet where the human population has increased from 3.5 billion in 1970 – to now being about 8 billion. (Recall, the human population only hit 1 billion a little over 200 years ago. There’s been a 60% reduction in wildlife, since 1970 .. an estimated 75% reduction in global insect biomass in the last 30 years .. and 93% of the mammalian biomass on the planet is now either human, or the animals we farm to feed ourselves.
    All while we’ve reshaped 75% of the earth’s land surface (which is most of what we can easily get at).
    The human population is projected to be 10-point-something (pushing 11) billion, by the end of *this* century (another 25%-plus over what it is now). Even as we speak, we are amidst the Holocene extinction .. otherwise referred to as the sixth mass extinction or Anthropocene extinction .. an ongoing extinction event of species during the present Holocene epoch (with the more recent time sometimes called Anthropocene) as a result of human activity.
    Einstein told us the definition of insanity was to keep doing the same thing .. and expect a different result.
    Humanity is quickly pushing everything else off our planet (except ourselves, and what we farm to feed ourselves).
    Aerial 1080 is an example of exactly the kind of insanity – that has gotten us into our current predicament.
    It is pure, unadulterated, and irresponsible madness.

  4. Bob Betz says:

    1080 and brodifacoum are ecosystem poisons. They kill everything which ingests the toxins. While New Zealand has strict laws to do with inhumane acts to farm animals for wild animals inhumane acts are ignored. It is hypocrisy, double standards and cruelty at its worst with slow, convulsive deaths.

  5. J.B. says:

    The painful deaths from government’s poisoning campaigns whether it be native birds, possums, rats or whatever is to be abhorred. They are repugnant aspects of New Zealand’s conservation policy. The glee of Forest and Bird and other strident groups at the extermination tool of poisons is a commentary on the sick, delusional attitudes. The point is the policies fail miserably with disruption of the natural food web.
    The super-breeders of Nature, rats which survive a 1080 drop, multiply with amazing rapidity so that within 18 months, the rodents have attained pre-poison numbers and another 18 months later, are three times original numbers.
    Within the predator/prey web, stoats whose staple diet is rats, multiply in similar fashion. Thus DOC and OSPRI have stimulated population explosions in rats and stoats.
    It is all there in a Landcare Research study in 2007.
    In their madness DOC and OSPRI have inflicted shocking cruelty on wild creatures and achieved the opposite of what their insane, zealous policy hoped for. It has resulted in tripling predator numbers.

  6. Justice Will B. Dunn. says:

    Well into the billions of dollars spent thus far on “predator control” all the while 40,000 kids in NZ haven’t ever slept in real bed. Unethical at the level of cruelty to animals and in terms of what the money could be spent on. If “predator control” is effective while do we still have to do it? Surely by now all the money blown on this would have delivered spectacular results? If not, why bother doing more? If it has then time to stop. Smacks of be a “jobs for the boys” boondoggle.

  7. "Eco-sense" says:

    Who will be around to hold the zealots accountable in 2050 for Predator Free 2050’s failure? It’s an impossible dream and a total waste of millions and millions of dollars not forgetting ecological damage with countless native birds and insects poisoned.

  8. Paul says:

    It’s sad that many people have been sucked in to the Predator Free dream. I’ve been trapping for many years in the mountains at Lake Te Anau & have found that there is no way we will get rid of all predators. The best benefit is that smaller areas will be safe but overall it won’t work for the country. In the meantime, innocent birds, insects & game animals will be killed with poison for little benefit.

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