SPCA criticised for anti-1080 ‘news’ article

The SPCA has been under fire for supporting anti-1080 protests.They say that “the welfare of all animals should be viewed equally” p- which includes pests like stoats, rats and possums that many people and organisations are trying to get rid of. 1080 is a major tool in reducing pest numbers, especially in remote parts of the country where trapping and other labour intensive methods aren’t practical.

The SPCA advises on ways of campaigning against the use of 1080.

On their website:  1080 – what is it, and what can be done about it?

Is SPCA against 1080?

SPCA is against the use of poisons to kill animals due to the level of suffering they cause, as well as the nature of their use. We would like to see a ban on the use of poisons such as 1080, because these substances cause such intense and prolonged suffering to animals that we believe their use can never be justified.

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. SPCA also encourages the research and development of humane alternatives to species control, including the replacement of lethal methods with humane non-lethal methods, such as limiting reproductive abilities.

What does SPCA think about ‘pests’ in New Zealand?

Although SPCA does not regard the lives of one species over another, we do recognise that there is a concern regarding the impact of so-called ‘pest’ animals. 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 welfare of all animals should be viewed equally, and people should recognise that they deserve protection from suffering pain or distress, regardless of the species or where they came from. Whether an animal is native or introduced, any measures taken to manage their impact or numbers must recognize that these animals are sentient and have the capacity to experience pain, suffering, or distress, regardless of whether they are viewed or classed as a ‘pest.’

What has SPCA done to ban the use of 1080?

SPCA are deeply concerned over the use of 1080 and other poisons and are working hard to achieve positive change. As a charity, SPCA has limited resources, but the use of 1080 and other poisons is a priority for us as an organisation. SPCA are working wherever we can to change the law, publicly speaking out against the use of 1080 wherever possible.

Why can’t SPCA Inspectors stop 1080?

SPCA’s Inspectorate are bound by New Zealand’s current laws specified in the Animal Welfare Act 1999, which unfortunately allow for the use of 1080 under a permit system and within permitted drop-zones. Therefore, if a poison is used to kill an animal and meets requirements, there is currently no legal course of action SPCA Inspectors can take. This is because no offences have technically been committed, even though the poison has likely caused the suffering, pain and distress to the animal.

What can I do to ban the use of 1080?

There are many things you as a member of the public can do to help end the use of 1080, including:

1.You can sign or create a petition to the government:Once a petition is closed a member of parliament must be asked to present the petition to parliament. This may be your local MP but does not have to be. Once presented in the House of Representatives, the petition will be considered by a select committee. At this point it may become open for submissions, allowing individuals to give their feedback in more detail.

2.You can sign up to MPI and NZ Government to receive alerts when select committees are accepting submissions: The more people who voice their opposition to 1080 use via submissions when opportunities arise, the more likely that the government will be to reassess the approach. You can sign up to receive alerts by following the link: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/subscribe-to-mpi/

3.You can make your voice heard by meeting with or writing letters to members of parliament: It is particularly powerful to meet with government representatives in person, or at least to talk to them on the phone.

Hopefully, if enough people and organisations make their voice heard in opposition to the use of inhumane ‘pest’ control methods such as the use of poisons, the law will be changed and will no longer allow the legally sanctioned inhumane treatment of ‘pests’.


Forest and Bird responded:  SPCA 1080 position will lead to cruel deaths and extinctions

Forest & Bird says the SPCA’s statement calling for 1080 to be banned shows a naïve failure to understand how nature works in the wild, and they will be seeking a meeting with the organisation to discuss its position.

Forest & Bird CE Kevin Hague says “The SPCA’s statement on the use of 1080 is seriously misinformed, and contains errors of both fact and logic. Their position reflects their history of caring for domesticated animals such as cats and dogs, without understanding the needs of New Zealand’s native animals and ecosystems.

“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.

“This is the terrible death that countless native animals across New Zealand suffer every night.

“The SPCA’s position on 1080 is a blow to their credibility. It’s sad to see them promoting flawed logic whose outcome is the extinction through being eaten alive of treasured animals like our kiwi, kereru, and kokako.

“Without scientific, ethical, and precision pest control, of which 1080 is a key tool, there is no way to protect our native animals from the overwhelming numbers of introduced predators. 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.”

RNZ: SPCA criticised over article supporting 1080 ban

SPCA chief scientific officer Anya Dale…

… has clarified the organisation’s position.

“The SPCA’s position is that all poison’s cause prolonged and intense suffering to animals, both native and non-native, and as such it is very difficult to justify so it’s important to note that the SPCA is not opposed to the management of animal species, provided that it’s justified and humane and we absolutely support the innovation into alternatives to the use of poisons to manage species in New Zealand.”

When questioned over whether this meant the organisation wanted 1080 to be banned, Dr Dale reiterated the above statement.

She said that there needed to be more investment in alternatives.

Forest and Bird chief executive Kevin Hague…

…said that trapping was not a viable alternative.

“Anyone who is involved in trapping understands that trapping alone simply cannot cover the extent of the country that we need to be able to cover to control these pests. What it shows is they have a level of naivety around what’s required to protect our native animals and birds.”

OSPRI, the partnership organisation between primary industries and the government that is tasked with eradicating TB…

…agreed that alternatives to 1080 did not exist.

OSPRI’s research and development manager Richard Curtis said it budgets $2 million a year for research, of which half a million is for projects looking at alternatives or reductions to 1080.

He said there were two main pest-control research projects that the organisation had been working on but both of them would still poison the animal.

Mr Curtis said that biological alternatives were researched in the ’90s but found to have a low-likelihood of effectiveness.

“Biological alternatives are actually very complex and frequently don’t work… so at the moment we’re not investing in that space.”

TVNZ:  SPCA, Forest and Bird butt heads over call for 1080 ban – ‘a blow to their credibility’
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage…

…has supported the use of 1080, saying last month that it is a “critical tool” in the fight against species which damage the environment and attack native species.

In 2017-18, $4.8 million was provided for 1080 alternative research, and that investment increased to over $7 million in 2018-19.

“The best alternative at the moment is trapping, which is already used extensively across New Zealand,” Ms Sage said in Parliament in December.

“The Government is supporting a range of research into different compounds, including things like PAPP, which is very effective for stoats; things like sodium nitrate; microencapsulated zinc phosphate paste; and also into traps like self-resetting traps,” Ms Sage said.

When asked if she supported or saw a future for alternatives to 1080, Ms Sage said “absolutely”.

“Aerial 1080 continues to be a critical tool if we are to prevent the regional extinction of kākā, kiwi, and species like that, but alternative research is well under way.”

The welfare of pests like stoats, rats and possums versus the survival of native species?


  1. Ray

     /  January 9, 2019

    The SPCA position seems to point out the truth that it’s members are crazy cat ladies rather than animal lovers!

    • lurcher1948

       /  January 9, 2019

      Actually im a crazy dog guy having 2 SPCA specials, so feel free to abuse me

    • PartisanZ

       /  January 9, 2019

      The SPCA protested vociferously in 1987 against the importation of American Pit Bull Terriers but couldn’t prevent the Roger driven, Richard stoked runaway train of so-called “deregulation” …

      I cannot find dog-related injury claims before 2001, but can safely assume they were less than in 2001 when NZ had 8,353. By 2018 this had increased steeply to 14,026 for the whole country: 39 per day! And how many go unreported?

      We’d be in a lot better place regards dog control and dog attacks if we’d listened to the SPCA.

      I’ll trust them way ahead of your unsubstantiated, childish put-down thanks Ray …

      They have points worth considering …

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  January 9, 2019

    I’ve noted before that placing native species above all else and engaging in continuous and perpetual mass murder in pursuit of that is just a vanity project. Evolution will win in the end as it always has.

    • Griff.

       /  January 9, 2019

      Yes Alan.
      Who needs Kiwi and pohutakawa ?
      We should just shoot and cut now to save the wait.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  January 9, 2019

        Kiwi are doing fine in Russell without 1080 and are declining in Russell Forest and everwhere else where DoC drops 1080.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  January 9, 2019

          Private landowners will also protect their pohutakawa without using 1080.

        • Blazer

           /  January 9, 2019

          produce your ..evidence.IYC.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  January 9, 2019

            Fig 3.1

            Eastern Area
            The 2016 results from the Eastern Area were excellent, with an all-time high mean kiwi call rate of 17.7 calls/hr recorded (more than 1 call/hr greater than the previous high of 16.4 calls/hr observed in 2011; Fig. 2). The pattern of increasing call counts per hour was seen across all stations, but was
            most evident at Tikitikiore (Stn 15), where the mean call count almost doubled from 15 calls/hr in 2015 to 25 calls/hr in 2016. This rate is the highest observed from this station. Another station with a very high call rate in 2016 was Marsden Cross (Stn 10), which had a mean of 38.6 calls/hr. This was also the highest mean call rate observed from this station, by almost 4 calls/hr. The other
            stations had more modest increases, with Rangitane (Stn 12) increasing from 9.5 calls/hr in 2015 to 10.9 calls/hr in 2016; Waitangi No. 12 (Stn 13) had a mean of 7.5 calls/hr, which was the highest recorded for this station since 2006 (although 4 years of data were missing), and Mt. Bledisloe’s 2016 mean of 10.9 calls/hr was 3 calls/hr more than in 2015 (Appendix 1). Puketotara (Stn 11) wasn’t listened from in 2016, but all five other stations had the full 4 nights of listening. All of the people working hard to protect kiwi in this area will no doubt be thrilled with these positive results.

            Stn 15 is in Russell.

            • Blazer

               /  January 9, 2019

              where are the figs for the decline in Russell forest where 1080 is used.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 9, 2019

              The red parts on Fig 1 are Russell peninsular – all private land. They yellow includes all Russell Forest out to Cape Brett and down around Whangaruru Harbour.

            • Pickled Possum

               /  January 9, 2019

              NZ accounts for 80% of the world use we now produce the bait balls in Whanganui with the raw product made in Alabama
              Last time I heard NZ was.going to produce the raw toxin in
              SouthIsland. FFS
              One of the most widely used mantras of 1080 advocates is
              ‘TB carrying opossums’ we must eradicate them.
              In all my opossum hunting days I had only 2 with TB out of
              thousands and they came from Tainui country.
              These were pointed out to me when the buyer was grading my skins.

              We have been using this shit for 50+ years and the forest is still being munched up by these ecological pests.

              I am an advocate for opossums hunters being paid a living wage to go into the bush to trap shoot strangle if we have too
              to get rid of these bloody Ozzie fluffy’s.
              The worlds soft toys are now made predominantly out of opossum.
              Al did you notice a more subdued birdsong in Russell forest after the drop

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 9, 2019

              Haven’t been into Russell Forest or anywhere DoC controls up here because they ban dogs. So kiwi flourish only where landowners have dogs and most of our public forests are empty of people, dogs and wildlife.

          • PartisanZ

             /  January 9, 2019

            That’s sound, useful information Alan, thanks.

            It adds to my long-held feeling that there’s something more to the pro-1080 lobby than meets the eye … something ‘corporate-political’?

            • Pickled Possum

               /  January 9, 2019

              The West Coast Regional Council has admitted a secret $500,000 investment in a pest control company and new factory which is looking to manufacture 1080 poison at Rolleston, near Christchurch.

            • Pickled Possum

               /  January 9, 2019

              n 2010, a petition by anti-1080 activists found 93 per cent of Westland residents were opposed to the poison, based on canvassing of 1500 people.

              1080 poison is made by the Tull Chemical Company in Alabama, in the United States, and is banned by most of the world.

              In New Zealand, the poison is manufactured into pellets by Animal Control Products Ltd (ACP), a Crown-owned company, which manufactures more than 90 per cent of the pesticide formulations containing 1080 used in New Zealand. ACP has a manufacturing site in Whanganui and previously had one in Waimate, according to the Environmental Protection Authority.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 9, 2019

              So the Government and local Government profit from their own policies and actions. Who would have thought?

            • PartisanZ

               /  January 9, 2019

              And who would have thought that their ‘profit’ – in so many circumstances – might be our loss – in so many ways …

            • Pickled Possum

               /  January 9, 2019

              Alan if your council made decisions in secret on how to spend your rates bet you would be asking some hard questions or maybe not eh.
              Condesending prickishness … if it makes money its ok?

  3. acrossthespectrum

     /  January 9, 2019

    1080!!! SPCA goes back that far? I thought SPCA was formed around 1824.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  January 9, 2019

      No, William the C was the first sponsor.

      • acrossthespectrum

         /  January 9, 2019

        @Kitty Catkin

        “No, William the C was the first sponsor.”
        William the B. you mean?
        I knew William. He went to Wanganui Intermediate with me but was in another class.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  January 9, 2019

          No, the C; when he’d been in England for 14 years, he became the first royal sponsor.

          You probably knew my brother 🙂

  4. a_tinkerer

     /  January 9, 2019

    The question is – Should NZ run a competition to look at alternatives to reduce numbers of Rats, Stoats & Possums? 1080 was started in 1953 in New Zealand. There are very business models on the planet that have not changed the way they do things with technology & computers. DOC’s way of doing things belongs in the dark ages. I remember 30 years ago I shot about 15 possums in about 30 minutes – way more efficiently than 1080. We were looking down on a group of trees at night with a spotlight. Possums have very distinct eye signature when the spot light or car lights are on them. We just aimed our 22’s between their eyes – very easy kills. Why not with today’s technology have drones in the air at night with some very basic artificial intelligence (with a small caliber gun & silencer) working a grid of trees picking off the possums at night in the trees. The point here is – we need to put New Zealand’s best minds together from Universities & others in the way of a competition to see what will come up. Kea, Hawk & Falcon, deer & others get hit as collateral every time 1080 is dropped. Kill one of these birds or deer and it will not lay eggs or have fawns – ever! If an egg from a native bird gets taken one year – it will lay another one at the next opportunity. Rat numbers balloon every time the native trees drop their seeds about every 5-7 years then drop back to manageable levels when the seeds do not drop – they need a different approach. There is better technology available – it just needs a good old fashioned competition to bring it to light – Go SPCA! As a side note – I cancelled my subscription to Forrest and bird as soon as I realized they were advocates for 1080. Forrest & Bird have been infiltrated by some very backward thinkers that have not moved on from ideas created in 1953.