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Farmers back ‘the Battle for Birds’

Federated Farmers is backing the Department of Conservation’s ‘Battle for Birds’ by extending the use of Sodium fluoroacetate (1080) to 500,000 hectares of the DoC estate, ahead of an anticipated explosion in mice, rat and mustelids due to the 2014 mast season.

“With one million tonne of seed due to fall in the 2014 mast season we are almost certain to see an explosion in rodent numbers and with them, their major predators,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Game & Pest spokesperson.

“Once this easy food supply ends in the spring, this plague of pests will turn on our native fauna as an easy meal.

“When we have a tool that works, like Sodium fluoroacetate, then we must use it to keep these pest populations in check.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with DoC and Forest & Bird on the responsible use of Sodium fluoroacetate. This plan has our backing and our support.

“For farmers, Sodium fluoroacetate plays a vital role in controlling the spread of bovine tuberculosis (Tb), which is carried by pests like possums and by mustelids such as stoats.

“Putting DoC’s additional investment into perspective is that farmers, together with central and local government, spend over $50 million each year on animal pest control via TBfree New Zealand.

“With DoC upping its 2014 programme this will dovetail with control programmes already underway. It means about one million hectares will be covered and that’s great for us all.

“There are about 10 million hectares of New Zealand known to contain TB-infected wild animals. The goal TBfree New Zealand has is to eradicate the disease from wild animals on at least 2.5 million hectares by 2026.

“Farmers voluntarily protect some 111,000 hectares of land under QEII National Trust covenants, let alone pest control being undertaken individually on-farm.

“While opossums aren’t the primary target, this plan will undoubtedly knock them back as a happier form of ‘collateral damage.’

“Simply put, Sodium fluoroacetate works for farmers and conservationists alike.

“Given its safer to swim in shark infested waters than for a Kiwi chick to be born in the wild, especially in 2014, Federated Farmers fully supports this programme,” Mr Crofoot concluded.

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