A news site in India has noticed NZ’s love affair with “poisons, profits and pests” | Rangitikei Environmental Health Watch
The New Zealand state-owned enterprise, Animal Control Products imports as much as 90% of the world’s supply of pure manufactured 1080 annually from the United State’s Tull Chemical Company (the sole manufacturer). This is then processed into various baits. But New Zealand’s pest control industry is not all about spreading bait from helicopters or ground-based operations in its own ecosystem, it is also about export opportunities. Animal Control Products has found a niche market for selling New Zealand expertise and products for pest control solutions and island restorations. It is a lucrative sideline for this government. New Zealand provides the skill to kill, marketing its expertise and branding, and proudly presiding over island eradications.
But does the world need such a thing as island eradications and ecosystem restorations? And if we are to believe the world does need such drastic measures, the question needs to asked. Are poisons really working? The respected science journal, Nature, reported in 2012 that “Killing rats is killing birds”. Canada and the United States are planning to restrict the use of blood-thinning rat poisons, such as brodifacoum.
The disastrous eradication of Alaska’s Rat Island used 42 tonnes of brodifacoum. This resulted in the demise of 420 birds including 46 bald eagles that tragically came to dine on rat. One would hope that the island eradication industry would think twice about using poisons that have far reaching environmental implications. Rats will go wherever we go. But still, aerial poisoning of islands is heralded as the “final solution” to the problem of rats. This way of looking at island conservation as a poisoning opportunity was born in New Zealand.