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Animal Cruelty in New Zealand Has World Howling

Animal Cruelty in New Zealand Has World Howling

A Global Plea to halt the aerial poisoning of tens of thousands of animals has been sent to New Zealand Government Ministers and politicians. The Care2 petition, launched four weeks ago by Paws For a Cause NZ, has amassed over 34,000 signatures from over 130 countries.


The "Stop the Drops" petition links to the video: Is 1080 humane? You decide. The graphic footage shows animals dying of 1080 poison, by-kill of the government's aerial poison war on rats and possums. Viewers are invited to sign the petition if they believe 1080 poison is cruel and want to stop animal suffering."


New Zealand holds the dubious distinction of using over 80% of the world supply of sodium fluoroacetate ('1080') poison. One of the world's most lethal toxins, the 1080 is processed into cereal pellets and poisoned carrots and aerially broadcast over hundreds of thousands of hectares annually. New Zealand government agencies defend 1080 poison as a humane to moderately humane way to kill its 'unwanted' wild animals - namely possums, rats, cats, stoats, wallabies, ferrets and rabbits. In addition, aerial drops commonly poison deer, thar, goats, pigs, chamois and birds (including the rare endangered mountain parrot, the kea). Poison drops near farms and rural residences have killed cattle, sheep, horses and large numbers of pets. Typically, enough 1080 poison is dropped on one hectare to kill 2500 dogs.


Animal advocates fly to the heart of the issue, cruelty to any animal, be it possum or pet. Good Animal Practice in Science defines humane killing of an animal as "… rapid (immediate) unconsciousness and subsequent death with no pain or distress accompanying the procedure." Prolonged animal death by 1080 poison has been well documented in New Zealand for decades. Rammell and Fleming in a 1978 Animal Health Division publication, wrote: Bird deaths may occur "from 40 minutes to 3 days after dosing. Symptoms include circling movements, drooling, lack of balance, convulsions, extension of feet, running movements, vomiting. Effects on dogs include continual barking and howling, behaving 'as if terrified', with tonic convulsions and running movements."*


Pages of comments accompany global signatures. Typical comments are:


"Shame on you New Zealand government. (Belgium); "This is a disgrace." (U.K.); "Stop this terrifying cruelty." (Italy) "Nobody on this earth should be using 1080 anymore. Hideous poison." (USA)


"What should be done," writes signatory number 30,044 from South Africa, "is that those responsible for the approval of such methods be forced to bring the husband/wife and all children of their families to the board room where everything is neat and removed from reality. There an animal should be brought in and administered this approved poison and the decision-makers and their families made to watch and listen as the poison slowly destroys the animal and kills it in the most horrific way. Then they must go home and explain the definition of 'HUMANE' [to] the partner and the kids…I dare them. Make their decisions REAL and the blood on their hands. There are ALWAYS better ways."


Politicians targeted by the petition include Prime Minister John Key (Tourism Minister); Labour leader David Cunliffe; and Greens MP Mojo Mathers and Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy who are in charge of animal welfare issues. The NZ Parliament based at the Wellington "Beehive" will be kept abreast of petition updates. The world awaits response to the global request for an immediate moratorium of 1080 poison. Meanwhile, the petition continues to escalate. A single Facebook post was shared by followers to over one hundred thousand worldwide concerned about animal welfare.


*Compound 1080, Properties and Use of Sodium Fluoroacetate in New Zealand, Colin G. Rammell, Peter A. Fleming, Animal Health Division, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Wellington NZ, 1978, p 23

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