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Forest and Bird’s 1080 Flip-Flop

Forest and Bird, currently vehement supporters of aerial 1080 poison drops, have done a complete U turn over poisons says a recreational hunters’ body. Laurie Collins spokesman for the Sporting Hunters Outdoor Trust says in the mid-1990s Forest and Bird were publicly expressing grave concerns about 1080 killing bird life.

A newspaper cutting from “Rural News” July 5, 1993 showed the Forest and Bird Society were deeply concerned at the “uncontrolled dropping of 1080” on public lands.

The cutting read:-“The Forest and Bird Society fears that 1080 poison drops may threaten the survival of kaka, kakariki (parakeets), native bats and the already dwindling kokako. Urgent DOC trials at Kapiti Island showed a kaka consumed enough coloured bait to kill it. The Society wants further scientific research done into the effects of 1080 poison drops on native bird life and a ban on the use of 1080 baits in areas inhabited by rare and dwindling species.

Forest and Bird now believes that no air drops of either pollard or carrots should go ahead in kaka areas and there should be in future, a ban on 1080 in National Park areas. The uncontrolled dropping of 1080 in our forests is a threat to our endangered species. More research must be done. Please stop this practice.”

Laurie Collins said Forest and Bird’s strong message on a ban on 1080 was exactly what a growing and large number of New Zealanders were saying in 2018. But he said the U turn by the society to today’s blind support of 1080 drops by the Department of Conservation and OSPRI (formerly Animal Health Board) was startling, puzzling and raised questions.

“What compelled Forest and Bird to change 180 degrees? Did DoC persuade by whatever means, a complete flip-flop? Why is Forest and Bird sacrificing its belief of 1993? It seems Forest and Bird’s right hand side of the mouth doesn’t know what its left hand side is saying.”

He questioned what the rank and file of Forest and Bird thought of the abrupt change in stance towards poisons.

“Surely some sensible people within the society are concerned about 1080’s ecosystem poison properties and are puzzled by the society’s change of stance?”

Laurie Collins said the society’s 1993 concern over 1080 should have deepened as just 12 months later “Rural News” was running an exposure of a skilled scientist the late Mike Meads, warning of long-term ecosystem damage following aerial 1080 drops at Whitecliffs in Taranaki.

“Following Mike Meads conclusions, DoC buried Mike Meads’ work and then shunned the scientist. That should have had Forest and Bird angry at the lack of integrity by the department. Instead Forest and Bird became silent and fell into line with DoC. Why?” he said.

Laurie Collins said scientific evidence against 1080 in the last 10 years had mounted with such research showing rat numbers exploded after 1080, kea losses from 1080 were high and possums hd been wrongly blamed for bovine Tb outbreaks.

“So Forest and Bird cannot say science work since made it change its mind,” he added.


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