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Jane Goodall Institute Slams Predator Free 2050 And Aerial Poison Campaigns As Unethical

Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa welcomes the release of a new paper published by the Jane Goodall Institute and Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences at Ghent University in Belgium.

The Ethical Cost of Predator Free New Zealand 2050: Suffering in the name of Conservation calls the New Zealand campaign “unethical, unnecessary and unrealistic”.

“This eradication programme 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."

The paper calls for an immediate ban on the highly toxic chemicals 1080 Sodium Monofluoroacetate and Brodifacoum used by the Department of Conservation (DOC) in aerial operations over hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest, in New Zealand each year. Instead the author asserts, “The New Zealand government should invest in alternative, compassionate conservation solutions, such as fenced sanctuaries, birth control methods and translocations.”

Asha Andersen, a Trustee of Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa said today that Flora and Fauna are pleased to see this international paper is calling on the New Zealand government to end aerial poisoning and reassess the slash and burn mentality of the Predator Free 2050 campaign.

“It’s shocking that DOC still shows so little ecological literacy when it comes to the true effects of chemical poisons. There’s a complete lack of compassion for animals and the suffering they go through, not to mention the harm to communities living alongside poisoned forests or the impact on access to wild foods and medicines. This is compounded by DOC’s failure to properly consult with people affected by operations or acknowledge harm when it is reported.”

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Andersen said the so-called consultation process has been called into question time and time again as a complete farce with DOC over-riding local objections, and even lying about the support they have to conduct such poison operations in the first place.

“Earlier this month an aerial 1080 poison operation was carried out on Moehau, a sacred mountain in the Coromandel Peninsula, despite a Rahui being put in place by local mana whenua who refuse the use of the poison on their lands” said Andersen.

“For Maori, this is a blatant breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and flies in the face of traditional practices which seek to protect the Wairua and Mauri of the whenua and taonga species. DOC simply doesn’t account for the widespread collateral damage poison operations create, let alone the intergenerational harm or impacts on our climate.”

“It’s also important to note that as the global economic recession gains pace, the impact on NZ is likely to be severe. The ineffective and harmful use of aerial poisons is a scandalous waste of our money and it prevents citizens from drawing on free, invaluable natural resources such as water, wild food and medicine without significant risks to their health.”

Flora and Fauna said the ethics of the Predator Free 2050 campaign had been thoroughly and scientifically brought into question by the Jane Goodall Institute. But recognising that introduced animals are sentient beings too did not conflict with the development of alternative solutions that so many people in New Zealand are calling for.

“If leadership in Government and the Department of Conservation genuinely listened to the resounding calls for change, we might have a chance at finding some real solutions to our conservation problems. The poisoning of our forests needs to stop and this paper clearly demonstrates why and shows how we can begin to move forward in sustainable and ecologically sound ways.”


The Ethical Cost of Predator Free New Zealand 2050: Suffering in the name of Conservation

Koen Margodt, Ph.D

More aerial 1080 poison drops this year include the Hunua Ranges which is where much of Auckland City gets its water supply. The Raukumara Ranges in the Bay of Plenty, Mt. Pirongia in the Waikato and even the Waipoua Forest, the home of the giant Kauri Tane Mahuta in the North.

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