Envirologue by Dave Hansford

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Envirologue: 1080, "eco-terrorism" and agendas

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  • Michael Hood,

    Wow that blog is straight out of Protecting Parasites, the non-scientific book! Yes it's from March last year. And unhappily for all those who wrote at length about how awful those opposed to this 1080 poison are and how violent, partially illiterate and downright nasty they must be to to threaten babies... it was one of those involved in the NZ poison pest control industry as most of population who are opposed to 1080 thought it must logically be given the lack of compassion it must have taken. And a well known scientist who opposes the poison gave the police their lead.

    Here is a post from one of the facebook communities from around this time:

    The man who threatened the nation's babies with a deadly poison has now had name supression lifted. His excuse? Only that his pest control poison Feratox wasn't selling well enough and he'd maxed out on his credit card. He claims he didn't have enough to live on.... so why didn't he just sell off some of his large portfolio of real estate around the country instead of committing an act of what some called blackmail but the Prime Minister called eco-terrorism; hinting at misguided anti-1080 activism as the cause. No, John, it was just business as usual for the poisoners who all want the biggest share of the poisoning wildlife 'pie' - but the government's got that all sewn up with 1080, haven't they. What a sick industry in a country marketed as 'Pure'! It's enough to make anyone angry at the government. We're talkng here about our safety against a substance that is labelled as a chemical of mass destruction! And a member of NZ's pest control industry is angling for greater market share using threats against babies? What kind of industry are we nurturing? Aren't we better than this? Killing for conservation? Is that what we are sanctioning as a country? It's time to change more than our flag.

    New Zealand • Since Nov 2016 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Sigh. It's hard to know where to start with such an ill-informed rant. Go away and read Dave Hansford's excellent book then come back for a more informed discussion.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Michael Hood,

    Wow that blog is straight out of Protecting Parasites, the non-scientific book!

    Pardon Michael? Which blog? Do you have any particular point to make?

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1387 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    I'm guessing here that Michael Hood heard the Natrad interview with Dave Hansford on Sunday.

    Dave Hansford may be correct and 1080 is the only hope for New Zealand's flora and fauna.

    Nothing else, no other pest control measure, could possible measure up to the truly awesomeness of sodium flouroacetate ("you drink it in your cup of tea!!!").

    I found two aspects of Dave's interview, well, irritating.

    1. Again, its all about the birds. No mention of the huge tonnage of 1080 used by the Animal Health Board (far exceeding DOC's use until fairly recently) for the control of TB...largely in the ever expanding Dairy Herd which is ever encroaching onto marginal land. And shitting up the waterways.

    2. The level of disrespect shown by Dave H to those whose opinion on 1080 differs from his. In the real world, out there where Pak 'n Save is a half day's journey, there are folk (and not all banjo players) who do rely on hunting for food. People who prefer the taste of wild pork to the pale offerings the factory farms produce.

    Then those who see the dead native birds after a 1080 drop. I've spoken to a part time DOC ranger in tears on seeing this....not only can the pigs no longer be hunted by the whanau, but the very birds 1080 is touted to be saving are killed in significant enough numbers to be seen. (This woman, in her late fifties, was heading up the bush to lay traps and poison bait on hapu land.)

    Oh, but of course....this is anecdote...not real hard core science.

    IMHO, FWIW, predator proofed fenced 'land islands' are the way to go. Create sanctuaries close enough for the birds to fly between.

    Encourage the planting of food trees...not necessarily natives.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Rosemary, your comments are a bit unfair. The book is very balanced and even handed in my opinion (I’m about a third of the way through). Note that Hansford’s conclusions are very similar to those reached by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.Here’s her report. Ball’s in your court if you’d like to present a detailed critique of it here.

    FYI Dave Hansford has also argued eloquently against dairy intensification threatening freshwaters.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Rosemary, your comments are a bit unfair.

    I'll read the book...maybe when it lands in the discount bin. No disrespect here...just pecuniary disadvantage. So...I listened to Dave's interview on Natrad...to get a feel of what the book is about. My critique above is based on that interview.

    If there is better balance in the book...this was not conveyed in the interview, where derisory laughter followed mention of those with valid concerns about widespread use of 1080.

    Yes, I read the PCE Report when it was first released.

    It was Section 8.2 that rattled me.

    Simplify regulations

    The labyrinth of laws, rules and regulations that govern 1080 and the other poisons
    used to control introduced pests creates unnecessary complexity and confusion.

    Under the RMA, the use of poisons for controlling pest mammals is treated
    differently by different councils. Some councils treat the use of poisons as a
    permitted activity with only a few conditions, while other councils treat exactly
    the same use as a discretionary activity requiring a resource consent. In one case
    the number of aerial 1080 operations that can take place under the consent is
    specified, making it very difficult to respond to mast events. Many of the rules also
    replicate controls already in place under other legislation.
    There is considerable scope to simplify and standardise the management of
    these poisons. There is a strong case for the use of 1080 and other poisons to be
    permitted activities under the RMA, with local control reserved to those activities
    that are not covered by already existing controls under other legislation. One
    way to achieve this standardisation and simplification could be with a National
    Environmental Standard.
    There may also be other opportunities for simplifying various practices associated ...

    ...and so on and so forth.

    A pity...actually a crying shame...that the Commissioner's way of addressing the very real concerns of those who do not embrace widespread pesticide use with such enthusiasm is to recommend fewer controls and protections. And undermine local democracy.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Good on you for reading the PCE’s report. I don’t think it’s accurate to say that the PCE is an enthusiastic lobbyist for pesticide use in general; it’s more that given the magnitude of the problem we’re facing with native bird species threatened with extinction, this particular pesticide seems to be the best tool that we have at present, and that it’s essential that it is available for use, particularly for responding to mast years.
    It’s not like scientists haven’t devoted considerable effort to trying to develop alternatives either. As you probably know, 1080 has many advantageous properties as a pesticide – particularly in terms of rapid degradation.
    One thing that is coming through in the book, which may not have come through in the interview, is that Dave Hansford does get that it’s very counterintuitive to be distributing poisons in the environments we are trying to preserve. And he does sympathise with people’s concerns, up to a point. But really, the bottom line is that there are decades of research supporting the use of 1080 as the most effective pest control tool that we have. I think Rachel Carson would have approved.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    This is an interesting read - Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker, explaining NZ's crusade against mammalian pests to bemused onlookers from other countries.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    I’ll read the book…maybe when it lands in the discount bin

    I'll put in a plug for the countries public libraries here, and if you want to read it checking through that route.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to David Hood,

    I went to the Wellington launch of Vincent O'Malley's monumental new book The Great War for New Zealand a couple of weeks ago, and it was very heartening to hear that a copy is being provided to every secondary school library in the country. Sorry I can't remember who's providing the funding, but what a great initiative.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    I am coming from the point of view of someone who tried, and ultimately failed, to protect her little patch of paradise from the adverse effects of her neighbours' indiscriminate use of pesticides.

    This was 2010. By 2012, and after many hours spent researching, reading, talking on the phone and sending emails to any person or organisation who sounded even remotely relevant I had to accept (or slide into a weird and possibly unhealthy headspace) that in New Zealand any voice that dares to question the accepted narrative on pesticide use (i.e. "Its safe else they (ERMA/EPA) wouldn't have approved it.") is going to be dismissed as a tinfoilhatwearingnutbar.

    Well, not quite, and certainly not by everyone. But those who do agree, those who don't think you're a paranoid nutter offer their support in sotto voce.

    Like the vet who was putting down my old cat, just last year. As the blue juice was doing its thing...I told her that I knew his symptoms were caused by the aerial application of this shit and this shit. The aerial spraying was done on the optimal day for keeping the spray off the organic dairy farm to the north west of us. The wind, of course, carried this cocktail right to our door.

    And upset that I was now holding my dead cat, I told her I didn't care if she thought I was making shit up. Quietly, very quietly, she told me that she had put a horse down out our way with the same symptoms. The spray was also cited as the possible cause.

    No, you won't see an incident report, a complaint through EPA's official channels of an adverse event. You won't find a Waikato Regional Council notification either....they don't investigate complaints of this nature and they refuse (I have this in writing) to enforce the NZ Standard for the Management of Agrichemicals or the RMA.

    I learned a great deal about pesticide use in New Zealand.

    I learned a great deal about the adverse effects of pesticides...effects that have been poorly researched and seldom acknowledged here. Research from overseas, however, is abundant.

    I learned quite a bit about the competing interests, and how the narrative is controlled by the "feed the world" brigade.

    I did read this , which of course was 'discredited' by the establishment.

    Could it be, perhaps, that the indiscriminate use of 1080 by the AHB over the decades (and the PCE did concede that the AHB needs to be more transparent) has exacerbated the general pest problem?

    If there exists an 'us and them' culture over pesticide use in general and 1080 use in particular, it is because those with concerns, however valid, are treated with total disrespect from those with none.

    This is polarising, and needs to change.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    I did read this , which of course was ‘discredited’ by the establishment.

    'This' refers to a critique of the PCE's report by Jo Pollard. Sure it was discredited. This was because it's mostly scientifically illiterate. For instance, Pollard claims that Because 1080 poison is highly soluble it spreads very fast in water and also up food chains.

    Sorry, but that's just weird. 'Dilution' is a more useful concept than 'spreading very fast in water', and highly water soluble, non-persistent compounds do not biomagnify up food chains. She's just making stuff up.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Oh, but of course....this is anecdote...not real hard core science.

    Just being able to provide good references is helpful, though. Anecdote provides nothing verifiable which can actually be talked about in a useful way, and so trying to make strong arguments with just anecdote is really only going to build frustration on all sides.

    I've seen plenty of people claiming they reckon "there used to be lots of bird-song and then 1080 came and now there isn't" and concluding it must be 1080's fault. What I haven't seen is anyone who believes this making any significant effort to run a proper and verifiable study which actually shows it. At the very least, find somewhere where there'll be a drop, spend some time there beforehand, measure the fauna (listen to birdsong or whatever), write it all down clearly, record everything that might be relevant such as weather events, times of day, people doing the measuring and noting how, exact data values. Then return afterwards and do it all again, compare and apply statistical methodology. Be prepared to have the results criticised in the usual way, and be prepared to have to do it again with adjustments to address those criticisms, and if it shows something unexpected then be prepared for someone to try and replicate the study. It's not necessary to be a qualified scientist to actually do useful science, and verifiable measurement is something that's sorely needed in support of most anti-1080 claims I've seen.

    I don't mind listening to anti-1080 concerns, and I appreciate there are totally valid ones. But when I hover around a community like the 1080 Eyewitness Facebook group, where many of these protests are rallied, it's really depressing. It's standard for people to post pictures of dead animals and scream that 1080 killed them, with no info on what, where or when let alone how the cause of death was determined. It's standard for people make claims about 1080 based on how it was used 30+ years ago, as if concentrations and application methods haven't radically changed in that time. It's standard for people make statements about what scientific studies said, which often turn out to be incorrect or opposite if the study is actually checked. It's standard for all this stuff [old links, photos, everything] to be identically re-posted every 3 months even if someone thoroughly debunked it the time before. Plus a small handful of people really do just make stuff up in ways that can't really be anything other than malicious, maybe because they see it as serving a greater good, and they get believed even when it's easy to disprove.

    I'm not intending to paint this as a picture of everyone who's wary of 1080 and I hope it's not taken that way, but it's a very messy movement. There's no clear agreement on what anyone wants, whether it's some kind of alternative means for a pest free NZ, or to let the pests win while the native fauna and industry lose because of some kind of worshipping of darwinism, or something in the middle, or merely to be able to take their dogs out into the bush without having to watch what goes in their mouths. As well as that, though, there's no obvious acknowledgement that there's a disagreement. It's just entirely 1080=BAD ... for some reason ... and that's what unites it.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to izogi,

    It’s standard for people make statements about what scientific studies said, which often turn out to be incorrect or opposite if the study is actually checked.

    Back in 2010 I tried to find out on what basis the Food Safety Authority approved for use a certain agrichemical and how it set the MRL for that chemical. The document referenced research from 1976 and quoted one line that seemed to indicate that all was well and good with this particular chemical so we, the FSA (via the Mystery of Health) set the MRLs at ten times higher than in the EU.

    I have that research paper (somewhere in my bulging hard drive). It concludes 'we advise the use of these compounds be restricted due to the potential genetic risk to man'.

    The patent holder for that chemical later, much later, funded research to find the concentration of the chemical required to trigger mutations in human lymphocytes...and measured the number and types of mutations caused at the various concentrations. The concentration at which mutations occurred in human lymphocytes was 1000 times lower than the 'label' concentration. And no one in New Zealand is checking if users are following the 'label'.
    The patent holder let the patent lapse and this chemical was thrown to the open market. Banned for widespread use in the US....loaded into helicopters in New Zealand and applied with absolutely no effective monitoring or controls.

    There is the pantomime of monitoring.....

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to izogi,

    It’s not necessary to be a qualified scientist to actually do useful science, and verifiable measurement is something that’s sorely needed in support of most anti-1080 claims I’ve seen.

    Nicely said, Izogi.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Back in 2010 I tried to find out on what basis the Food Safety Authority approved for use a certain agrichemical

    Instead of hinting darkly, why not just state what it is, post a few links to the relevant documentation, and then it might be possible to have an informed discussion about it. Note that anyone can apply for a reassessment or review of a hazardous substance if you believe there are valid grounds for this.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Note that anyone can apply for a reassessment or review of a hazardous substance if you believe there are valid grounds for this.

    Oh my goodness! Its already on the Cheif Executive Initiated Reassessment List!

    And has been for years. As well as the two substances I linked to earlier, 2,4-D and MCPA. Carbendazim, the mutagen, (aka 2, methyl benzimidazole carbamate) and still approved for widespread use as a fungicide.

    Its been a while since I have visited the EPA site...comforting, in this ever changing world, that some things just stay the same.

    There may be clues, amidst the dark hinting, that yes...we went down that road.

    Surprising that any would think that making a submission to ERMA/EPA as an ordinary individual citizen would effect any change. The system simply does not work like that.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    as an ordinary individual citizen would effect any change

    I strongly and passionately disagree with this. In my personal experience, an ordinary citizen, with command of the full facts and able to mount a cogent and comprehensive arguement, can effect change.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to David Hood,

    I strongly and passionately disagree with this. In my personal experience, an ordinary citizen, with command of the full facts and able to mount a cogent and comprehensive arguement, can effect change.

    Tried that. Seriously...you should see the reams of paperwork we put together....reams of the stuff. And by God it was cogent...had the assistance of a PhD grad in chemistry.

    The only change....and it certainly was not for the better... was that instead of the Regional Council handling complaints about aerial application of agrichemicals the responsibility was transferred to CAA.

    Yay!

    And the nice man from CAA said the onus was on us to properly identify the aircraft doing the spraying.

    Yes...we were told to go and stand under the aircraft as it passed over on its spray run and photograph/video the identification number.

    I kid ye not.

    Life's too short for that shit.

    We are not often home now...not safe.

    The title of this post is 1080.."eco terrorism and agendas"...we know all about that.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

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