Opinion: Education and reason should be foremost in 1080 debate

By Grant Adkins

OPINION: Why on Earth would someone think the best way to put their argument forward was by shooting a weka?

Autopsy results of one of the dead birds used in an anti-1080 protest stunt earlier this year at Parliament revealed the bird had been shot. When the protest originally occurred, it was implied the birds had died from consuming 1080.

People working in the predator control space are facing an increase in intimidation from members of the public, including murder threats. 

These abusers are behaving like a comments section on a news article, throwing out violent statements with little thought to their impact on the recipient or wider community. 

If the anti-1080 group really do value animals, and it's not all about anti- intellectualism and conspiracy theories, the centralists inside the anti-1080 group should be loudly denouncing the shooting of a protected bird and the abuse threats.

But they're not. Instead they fill social media with their guff no matter the original statement posted, attempt to hijack other protests and actions in Parliament's grounds and refuse to de-escalate the violence within their own group.  

There's an argument being put forward that there is an alternative to 1080. But there isn't. Not right now. Not one that can realistically bring down pests in New Zealand's remote landscapes. If there was, it would be getting used. If the anti-1080 brigade could come up with a viable alternative they would be listened to, but they don't. 

There are several non-government organisations and volunteers across the country doing what they can to help save fauna and flora.

What unites them is education, a love of animal wellbeing, a respect for nature and an understanding that if they don't do the hard work now, there will be little left of what makes New Zealand unique.

The latest behaviour from the anti-1080 brigade shows a lack of empathy and understanding. They would rather believe in Government conspiracies than accept maybe what is best for the community at large, given what we currently know and can prove, is science-based pest control.

If the anti-1080 fanatics are so concerned about the welfare of our native birds, they could head into the bush and spend some time trapping possums so there is less need for 1080.

Grant Adkins is Federated Farmers Whanganui Meat & Wool chairperson