SPCA calls for ban on 1080

The SPCA has issued a statement calling for a ban on the use of 1080, saying it causes "intense and prolonged suffering" to animals.

The organisation is "deeply concerned" over the use of 1080, it says in a statement, adding it is working to achieve change.

The SPCA does not regard the lives of one species over another. However, it does recognise there is a concern regarding the impact of "so-called 'pest' animals," the statement says.

"Sometimes it is necessary to capture certain animals or manage populations of species for various reasons, including biodiversity, conservation, and sustainability.

"In these instances, methods that are proven to be humane and effective should be used."

The statement says the welfare of all animals - whether native or introduced - should be viewed equally.

"There should be greater emphasis on looking for solutions that would enable species who cannot be completely removed, to co-exist in the environment instead."

But Forest & Bird disagree, calling SPCA's statement "naive", "misinformed" and inaccurate.

"While the idea of stoats and rats peacefully coexisting with native birds sounds great, the reality is that an estimated 25 million native birds, eggs and chicks are cruelly eaten alive by introduced predators every year in New Zealand," said the organisation's chief executive, Kevin Hague.

"The SPCA's position on 1080 is a blow to their credibility. It's sad to see them promoting flawed logic".

Mr Hague said the SPCA's position reflected their history of caring for domesticated animals "without understanding the needs of New Zealand's native animals and ecosystems."

"Giving up 1080 would lead to an ecocide of huge proportions in New Zealand, and the SPCA need to understand this is the outcome of their pest control position."

Last month, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) released its report into the aerial use of 1080 during 2017, saying the use of 1080 keeps people and the environment safe.

The report details information on 50 aerial operations covering 875,000 hectares of land.

General Manager of the EPA's Hazardous Substances Group, Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter, says 1080 remains one of the most strictly controlled hazardous substances in New Zealand, and is a critical tool in the ongoing fight to protect our native birds from introduced predators - possums, rodents and stoats.

"While around 30 research projects continue to look at 1080 alternatives and ways to improve the targeting of pests, the EPA believes the current rules around 1080 keep people and the environment safe," she said.

Read the full EPA report here.