Pest Control Without Environmental Poisoning

Oct 13th, 2010 | By | Category: Youth Blog

There is a movement in the United States to end the production and export of Compound 1080, (sodium fluoroacetate) one of the deadliest chemicals in the world used to kill pests and predators that eat livestock. According to Camella Fox, a wild life consultant, one teaspoon of 1080 can kill 100 human beings. Compound 1080 is produced in the United States by an Oregon based company called Tull Chemicals. The Compound’s largest importer is New Zealand, where it is aerially sprayed on large tracts of land. Consequently, the movement against 1080 is growing in New Zealand as well – and for good reason.

There are reports of many animals being poisoned from Compound 1080, including pets and endangered species. Even human beings have been seriously injured by exposure to 1080. Some have died from it. Animals that ingest this poison die a painful death. One deer tried to rip open its stomach in agony while dying of the poison.

New Zealand is overrun by invasive species. In order to do something about it, the government sends planes to spray massive amounts of 1080 compound in the infested area. That sounds pretty insane, because widespread usage of this poison can contaminate the entire food chain. It gets into the soil, which can contaminate the potable water. Aerial spray poisons grasslands and plants which the herbivores eat. That makes the flesh of animals, which we eat, toxic.

Rats and possums may be threatening New Zealand’s wildlife, but so is compound 1080. If you want to control possums, think of how the passenger pigeon became extinct by people hunting it. Up until the nineteenth century, the bird used to fly in flocks of up to one billion, blocking out the sunlight over an entire area. Extensive and prolonged human hunt of the bird for food led to the specie becoming extinct by the 20th century. The last passenger pigeon is said to have died in 1914. Perhaps New Zealand could do the same about possums. Moreover, the threatening wild life population can easily be controlled by breeding control devices such as PRIDs (progesterone releasing devices) during the breeding season, which is a biological way of controlling pest population.

Similarly, the coyote problem on US ranches can also be solved by using guard dogs within the fence and by keeping the livestock in a fenced area. Many coyotes can go over five foot high fences, but this can be prevented by digging deeper holes all around the outside of the fence. Hey, here’s another possible solution. Farmers can use non deadly chemicals which make unwanted animals faint, and while they are lying unconscious, they can get rid of their targets in a more humane manner than traps and 1080. This method will also allow farmers to set the unintended victims free

In the United States, Representatives DeFazio (D-Oregon) and Campbell (R-California) are working to pass the H.R 5643: Compound 1080 and Sodium Cyanide Elimination Act. Sodium Cyanide is another poison used in the wild, in little packets which burst open and spray poison all around when an animal bites them. In 1998, Wildlife Services, the federal program that resolves any problem with wildlife interaction that threatens public safety and health, withdrew its registration for use of the poisons.

The best thing to do is to outlaw the production of this poison. It’s a good thing that DeFazio is Republican and Campbell is Democrat. A bipartisan bill is more likely to pass. So, join in the fight to ban the use of 1080 and get Tull to stop producing it. The use of compound 1080 carries risks to the whole environment. We definitely don’t need a pest solution as deadly as this one.

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