|1080 poison-laced cereal baits|
1080 is a synthetically-produced, tasteless, odourless poison, scientifically known as sodium fluoroacetate (or monofluoroacetate).
Poisonous fluoroacetates also occur naturally in a handful of plants in low concentrations. Fluoroacetate is believed to be a plant defense mechanism that discourages grazers and browsers.
1080 has no antidote. Because it is so toxic and dangerous, very few countries choose to use it. New Zealand uses over 80% of the world’s supply.
1080 affects all mammals, birds, fish, insects, worms—everything that depends upon oxygen. Basically, it stops cellular respiration. Some animals, such as dogs, are more susceptible than others.
Animals and birds can become ill and many die by ingesting 1080 directly, or by consuming the flesh of dead or poisoned animals. Thus ruru (morepork owls) and weka that feed off poisoned carcasses, or catch poisoned mice to feed to their young, will be affected. Kiwi (birds) that eat poisoned worms and grubs are harmed. 1080 affects the entire ecosystem.
There is always a risk that 1080 will enter the human food chain, if it isn’t there already.
Death by 1080 is prolonged and agonizingly painful—some say it is like getting hundreds of electric shocks. Many people object to deliberately inflicting such torture on animals.
New Zealand government agencies spend millions of dollars each year to aerial drop 1080 over roughly 726,000 hectares of bush under the “Battle for the Birds” banner alone (the Department of Conservation's 2017/2018 figures). The overall coverage is probably over a million hectares (2.4 million acres) if you include aerial drops by regional councils and through OSPRI (TB-free) funding. The stated goal is to eradicate "pests" in the target areas.
Rodent populations often boom the year following 1080 applications—rats seem to have tremendous rebound capacities.
New Zealand has been using 1080 since the 1950s. It has not been successful in eradicating unwanted animals, or in “saving” native species.
The above is adapted from an A5-sized flyer I recently handed out to onlookers during a 1080 protest. I have written a number of blog posts previously about 1080, which I believe should be banned. Some of these posts are
And way back in 2011, I wrote this post: 1080