Because by doing so, and not commenting when similar losses of life occur in Syria, I would be placing more value on the lives of Parisians over the lives of Syrians. What happened in Paris on one day happens in Syria every day.
It was revealed today that a threat has been made to contaminate infant formula and other milk products if the government doesn’t stop using 1080 poison for pest control by the end of March.
Blackmail threats were made by anonymous anti-1080 campaigners late last year and small packets of milk powder, contaminated with 1080, were sent to both Federated Farmers and Fonterra in November last year.
Prime Minister John Key says the Government will not negotiate with “eco-terrorists”. However the police deputy commissioner of national operations refuses to call it a terrorist act, saying police had been treating it solely as an act of criminal blackmail.
In some ways the threat couldn’t come at a better time for the government as the Prime Minister wants to pass controversial anti-terrorism legislation that will allow our spy agencies to legally spy on NZ residents – something they have been caught doing illegally over recent years. With an upcoming by-election which is no longer a certainty for the government, could this be the event that persuades voters to give up some of their freedom in order to defeat terror? I hope not, but it looks like John Key is going to milk the threat for all it’s worth.
Why is 1080 used?
1080 (Sodium Fluoroacetate) was first approved for use in New Zealand in the mid 1960s to control introduced pests such as possums, rats, mice, stoats and rabbits. These creatures are decimating our native fauna and flora. The poison is spread from the air in pellet form at the rate of about 2 Kg per hectare (about 2.5 lb per acre).
Until the start of human settlement in New Zealand around a thousand years ago, these islands were devoid of land mammals. Birds occupied all the niches occupied by mammals in other parts of the world – with one exception. The niche taken up elsewhere by small carnivores such as cats, stoats and weasels, remained empty in NZ. This lack of danger resulted in a bird population with very low reproductive rates and many became ground dwellers or lost the ability to fly.
When the Europeans arrived here a little over 200 years ago, they brought with them the pests that are now the target of the 1080 poison. NZ has one of the highest extinction rates in the world for animal species. and that’s likely to continue until the pests are eliminated. Possums also carry bovine tuberculosis, which is a threat to our dairy industry.
Currently 1080 is the most effective tool available to make a significant effect in reducing pest numbers. In 2013, 1080 was dropped over 448,210 hectares (1730 square miles), and last year aerial drops covered 550,000 hectares (2124 square miles)
Why is 1080 controversial?
The poison is highly toxic to all mammals including deer and dogs. The hunting community is against its use for this reason.
Some communities have concerns over aerial 1080 drops near waterways. They are afraid that they or their animals may be poisoned.
However a report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment evaluating the use of 1080 was published in 2011 and concluded that not only should the use of 1080 continue to protect New Zealand forests – but it should be used more often. She also noted:
“It is seldom that I come to such a strong conclusion at the end of an investigation. But the possums, rats and stoats that have invaded our country will not leave of their own accord.”
“The clean green brand that New Zealand identifies with is at risk unless more is done to protect native animals and forests.”
There is one record of a hunter dying in the 1960s after eating a 1080-laced jam bait (which was later banned). An adult would have to eat about seven cereal baits to be lethal, although one bait could seriously harm a child.
1080 residues have never been recorded in public water drinking supplies and no human deaths from drinking affected water or food have been recorded. The Ministry of Health sets a drinking water standard of two parts of 1080 per billion parts of water, which has never been breached. At that level, a 60 kg (132 lb) adult would need to drink about 60,000 litres (15,850 gallons) of water in one sitting to consume a fatal dose. The highest record of 1080 in water was nine parts per billion.
To consume a fatal dose from an animal that had died from 1080, an adult would need to eat at least 37kg (81 lb) of meat from that animal. The New Zealand Food Safety Authority has not detected 1080 in any commercially-produced foods since testing began in 1999.
However, some people are so concerned by the possible dangers of 1080, that they formed the Ban 1080 Party which stood in the 2014 general election. They received 5,113 party votes (0.21 per cent of the total vote).
Personally, I’m happy for the 1080 drops to continue until the last of the vermin is dispatched. As for the blackmailer/terrorist, if they attempt to carry out the threat and put innocent children at risk, they’ll be no better than the likes of the barbaric murderous ISIS.
There’s no doubt that members of ISIS are some of the most barbaric, murderous, cruel, vicious and downright evil miscreants to blight this earth, disguising their hatred for all that is decent behind a mask of religion. With monsters like them I find it very hard to maintain a belief that every person has a capacity for good.
Currently there is a discussion under way in this country about changing our national flag. Personally I believe our current flag looks too much like the Australian flag, and the Union Jack is no longer an appropriate component for our flag. I posted about it here. As the Australians seem reluctant to change theirs, it looks like the onus is on us Kiwis to change flag. Later this year and early next year NZ will hold a series of referendum to choose a possible replacement.
So what have ISIS and a new flag got in common? Political Correctness gone mad. My preference for a new flag (and until recently, the Prime Minister’s) is the silver fern on a black background. However the Prime Minister has chickened out of the idea because the ISIS flag has a black background. He’s afraid that the use of black will give the appearance of New Zealand supporting terrorism. The piker.
Next there’ll be a move to discourage the waving of the traditional silver fern on a black background seen at every sports event where a New Zealand team participates. It’s seen more often at sports events than our national flag. Seriously, is there anyone who would confuse the silver fern on a black background with the ISIS flag of the shahada on a black background?
I believe the silver fern on black is the logical replacement for our existing flag, and would have been the most popular alternative. However, PC and ISIS have combined to destroy any chance of it being selected. A pox on both Political Correctness and ISIS I say.