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Only option for successful large-scale pest control

Opinion Piece

David Haynes of Nelson in his letter of March 5 regarding the use of 1080 for pest control equates 1080 with opium. This is a very tenuous link, even to the point of irrationality, because 1080 does actually save the species and ecosystems that we’re working to protect. It does this by killing large numbers of the most destructive predators; possums, rats and stoats.

I strongly disagree with his view that “scientific studies on the efficacy of 1080 merely seek to reinforce, not challenge, its continued usage”.

This is simply not correct. In the Parliamentary Commissioner’s 2011 evaluation of 1080 there are 213 “endnotes” referencing a large number of reports and studies in which the pros and cons of 1080 are extensively documented.

Mr Haynes acknowledges the role that 1080 has played in saving kaka and kiwi but still seems to doubt that we should be using it. Should we continue to let kaka and kiwi fade away to extinction in many parts of our country?

He wants us “. . . to question everything” and then raises his own unfounded doubts about 1080 but offers no alternatives, probably because he knows that currently, aerial 1080 operations are the only option for successful large-scale pest control.

Over the 60 years of aerial 1080 use, science and hard work have fine-tuned its use to the point that where it is used regularly, the benefits are obvious, with healthy and diverse indigenous ecosystems due to the onslaught of pest species being held in check.

I suggest that Mr Haynes reads the letters of February 27, Gisborne Herald, by Brian Habberfield and Rob Thompson, “Can’t hunt and trap ecological crisis away.”

Grant Vincent, Chairman, Forest & Bird Gisborne Tairawhiti branch