"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Mahatma Gandhi.
Based on Gandi's measure, and the way in which so many animals are poisoned, one could fairly declare New Zealand as morally bankrupt.
The Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry (previous government) defended the Department of Conservation's poisoning operations. The New Zealand Government owns the poison company that produces and distributes 1080, and so it's not surprising to see its Minister for Conservation defending her government's use of the controversial pesticide Compound 1080.
Marc Bekoff* responds in the Huffington Post to the incident where New Zealand school children are encouraged to drown baby possums to euthanise them. In this news report published in the Huffington Post, New Zealand is scorned for its treatment of animals through its 1080 poisoning operations.
The following commentary is from Marc ... "During the past few weeks, I have written a number of essays about New Zealand youngsters being encouraged to harm and to kill nonhuman animals (animals) as part of their education. It's all part of the country's war on wildlife, the goal being to get rid of all predators by 2050. (For more details please see "Imprinting Kids for Violence Toward Animals," "Scapegoating Possums: Science, Psychology, and Words of War," "Long-Term Effects of Violence Toward Animals by Youngsters," "Youngsters Encouraged to Kill Possum Joeys in New Zealand," and links therein.) I also did a recent interview with New Zealand's Safe and Sound radio about how wrong it is to teach kids to harm and to kill other animals (also on Facebook). I'm incredulous that something like this actually occurs."
*Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
The video below shows how possum joeys are still alive following a standard aerial 1080 poison operation and are then left to starve or freeze to death - the full version of the video can be viewed at this link.
The World Health Organisation describes the symptoms of 1080 poison (Fluoroacetate). "After a latent period of 6h or more, minor symptoms may be seen, including vomiting, tingling of the nose and numbness of the face. The serious symptoms can be broadly divided into neurological and cardiac effects. The central nervous system effects include tremulousness, hallucinations, convulsions and respiratory depression. The cardiovascular effects include hypertension, then hypotension, arrhythmias, cardiac failure, ventricular fibrillation and cardiac arrest. The clinical outcome appears to be either death or complete recovery, although there is some evidence of long-term cardiac damage."
The website www.1080science.co.nz gives plenty of examples of the effects of 1080 poison on animals.
Farm animals - horses, cattle, deer and dogs are all known to be poisoned with 1080. Some on a regular basis. This video clip shares commentary from the owner of several horses that were poisoned after the bait was aerially spread across them.
This research paper investigates the impact of 1080 poisoning operations on deer populations. The study was undertaken by scientists Graham Nugent and Ivor Yockney from Landcare Research and shows that high numbers of deer are killed in aerial poisoning operations, along with other animals and birds. The study below was undertaken on a typical aerial operation.