Conservation Minister Afflicted with Wild Animal Hatred?
Conservation Minister Afflicted with “Sad" Wild Animal Hatred?
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has received stern rebukes for he championing of 1080 poison to visiting UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson during his recent visit to Wellington’s Zealandia wildlife sanctuary.
West Coast conservationist Laurie Collins said death by 1080 was painful, torturous and slow with rapid and laboured breathing, tremors and muscle spasms, terminal convulsions before death all taking several to 24 hours to die.
“It’s a cruel poison yet Minister Barry told Mr Johnson 1080 was a painless death. It’s a bad look for both the minister and NZ,” he said.
Criticism also came from outdoors author and another conservationist Tony Orman who said Maggie Barry seemed to delight in mass killing wildlife.
“Is the Minister ignorant or stupid or just obsessed with a hatred of wild animals?” he asked. “I don’t know the answer but the fact is death by 1080 is slow and horrifying. Her comments were sad and deluded.”
Maggie Barry and Boris Johnson were filmed at Zealandia discussing New Zealand's campaign to become predator-free by 2050. Boris Johnson said he was sure the slaughter was done in “an entirely humane and dignified way, and they die with a smile on their faces, and I congratulate you on that."
Maggie Barry replied "If you have a problem with your grey squirrels just let DoC know. We can come and help out.”
"You'll come and programme a painless extermination," Boris Johnson replied.
Laurie Collins said Maggie Barry’s public comments were absurd because they defied ecological reality and championed the use of poisons, chiefly 1080. He had extensive experience with 1080 as a government Forest Service employee when 1080 was first used on the Greenstone Valley fallow deer herd at Lake Wakatipu and later local body pest work.
He explained 1080 was not just a “pest” poison having been developed as an insecticide in 1920s but was later found to kill “anything and everything that breathes.”
“That means insects, birds, and any other invertebrates, animals and indeed all life - it’s an ecosystem poison. Minister Barry and her department may kill their imagined “pests” but they are guilty of killing invertebrates, birds and other animals in their obsession to exterminate. They are in reality, killing the ecosystem.”
Tony Orman said 1080 poison disrupted the food chain and resulted in explosions of fast breeding species like rats. Landcare Research work showed surviving rats thrived and bred swiftly and increasingly.
“It’s Nature’s way of bouncing back. Within just four years under Nature’s momentum, rat numbers rise to three or more times previous numbers. Stoats whose main prey is rats, then explode in numbers with the abundant food. Barry and DOC are greatly increasing rat and stoat numbers over the next five years after a 1080 drop.”
Laurie Collins said possums were wrongly painted as a pest by the DOC-driven propaganda justifying the poison’s use. Landcare Research in 1994 told DOC possums were not destroying forests.Similarly with bovine Tb possums were admitted by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy to not be spreaders of Tb he said.
He was deeply concerned by the Minister’s “gleeful joy” when praising 1080 to the UK’s Boris Johnson.
“It looked like a hate mentality towards wildlife and impressionable youngsters get bad attitudes,” he said.
Recently controversy erupted when at a South Auckland school young possum were reportedly taken from their mother's pouch and drowned in a bucket of water during an annual fundraising hunt.