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Hunters Say Remutaka 1080 Drop as Based on Fiction

A big game hunters’ group has criticised a 1080 poison aerial drop on 24,000 hectares of mountain country between Hutt Valley and the Wairarapa as being ecologically damaging and not justified.

The Sporting Hunters’ Outdoor Trust (SHOT) said the poison scattering for possums in the Remutaka Ranges (Rimutaka) for bovine TB control was an operation by TBfree, an arm of OSPRI, formerly the Animal Health Board.

SHOT spokesman Laurie Collins said publicity produced by TBfree contained so many incorrect facts tantamount to fiction that it was laughable.

“However it’s no laughing matter since vast sums of public money are being wastefully spent and because 1080, first developed as an insecticide, is an ecosystem poison that will kill invertebrates, birds and game animals such as deer. Of course we’re concerned about deer as they are harmless. We care about birds too. No one wants silent poisoned forests. Sadly all poisoned creatures whether birds, animals ir insects, will die a slow lingering cruel death over 48 hours, more or less.”

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However Laurie Collins said OSPRI’s TBfree publicity was "short on facts but full on fiction". Inside sources had reported there have been no Tb reactors in farm stock in the Wairarapa and area adjoining the Remutaka Ranges in recent years. Besides Tb was not spread by possums as OSPRI claimed. In Parliament in 2016 the government’s Minister for Primary Production answered a question by NZ First MP Richard Prosser and said extensive autopsies of over 9800 possums had revealed not one Tb infected marsupial. In addition infection rates in NZ are so very low as it be well under the World Health ruling for achieving TB-free status.

Meanwhile OSPRI continued to use an archaic stock test based on skin testing which had an error rate of about 25%. The error rate of the skin test resulted in TB infected stock passed as clear and thus remain in farm herds thereby infecting other animals whose immune systems were below par. Laurie Collins said the blood test was almost totally accurate and should be used instead.

“If I was cynical I’d have to ask whether dogmatically using an unreliable test is done to keep a bureaucratic empire functioning?” he said.

Also questionable was whether New Zealand had actually been TB-free for a considerable number of years.

“In fact New Zealand has been Tb-Free for probably the last ten years and the whole OSPRI anti-possum 1080 operations are an expensive charade. There is a lack of justification and enormous ecological damage is being done,” said Laurie Collins.

He said the consequence of mega-1080 drops was a complete disruption of the natural food chain balance and as research has showed, in a few short years, resulted in massive upsurges of fast breeding species like rats and stoats.

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