The Saturday, December 2, WeekEnder by Bruce Bisset — a poet and freelance writer — on 1080 is not very credible and makes one wonder where he got his information from and what personal experience he has to be able to make these statements.
Unfortunately, people read what they see in front of them and form an opinion on it. The majority of people using the back country are hunters and trampers and both groups appreciate what they are doing.
1080 does affect them, do you want to drink from a stream or river that may have 1080 in it? Do you want to find poisoned carcasses lying in waterways or on tracks?
I have been a farmer for over 40 years and an orchardist for another 13 and have spent quite a bit of time wandering around in the hills/mountains in both the North and South Island.
"Poison drops down around Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers resulted in killing quite a few kea. Kea numbers have shown to be declining — is the 1080 the problem?"
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When I was a lot younger as part of my work I used phosphorus poison to kill a lot of pigs in the South Island high country.
It burned holes through the gut of the animals and was very effective. I have no pride in it but it was part of the job and I was an employee.
I have also used cyanide on opossums — it is more humane and quick. I have also taken top working farm dogs that have eaten 1080 to the vet and watched them die, it is not pleasant.
The deer that die of 1080 poison do not look as though they died with a smile on their face.
Where are the people that sneak around pig and poultry farms looking for some headlines — why don't they get out into the back blocks to have a look at what is going on?
1080 is the tool that gives some results for the Department of Conservation and Animal Health Board (because) it is cheap and can be applied over large tracts of land.
Unfortunately it does not give a permanent solution and unless you keep applying it the pests that survive breed up again over a few years.
There is quite a long period through which secondary poisoning can take place.
Meanwhile the unfortunate by-product kill of birds and animals also takes its toll. Poison drops down around Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers resulted in killing quite a few kea. Kea numbers have shown to be declining — is the 1080 the problem?
There were plenty down there in the 1960s. We used to shoot some as they would kill the sheep by landing on their backs and eating down into the kidney fat area.
The bush around a lot of the North Island in most cases does not have much bird life, I often come home from a hunt and can find a lot more native birds in our orchard than I can see in the bush I have been to.
One exception has been the Raukumara Ranges, which from looking at the opossum population, has probably not seen much 1080.
Regarding Bisset's claims that the reason for a lack of birdlife in a birch forest is lack of food, there are birds there.
One of the biggest threats to the small ones is the New Zealand falcon which is a very effective killer.
Regarding his claim that the deer might be eating all the food — (that) is a bit fanciful as deer can only browse up to about 2 metres and most of the native bush country is well out of reach to them.
Dismissing the Graf brothers' evidence without giving an acceptable reason is not good enough. At least they got out to see what was happening in the bush following a 1080 application and what they found was not good.
The 1080 debate is very political and as it is the only tool in the box the continued use will carry on to the general detriment of our bush country until eventually the plants will be the survivors to the detriment of all else.
Do DoC and Animal Health Board have graduates or Phd students working on other alternatives to deal with these pests with a good financial incentive offered for success?
We need to be smarter to find a permanent solution to a big problem and not just bury our heads in the sand and carry on with this poison.