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SPCA horrified 1080 drops still killing deer

Wednesday, 1 August, 2012

A family in Taihape reported to the SPCA that they had found four deer dead in bush adjoining their property after a notified Animal Health Board 1080 drop.

The deer had died in distress, the son of the family saying that the deer he saw had “bashed themselves around and died twisted around, obviously in agony”.

In the past the SPCA has stated that as there is no approval to use 1080 as a deer poison in New Zealand and due to its excruciating effects on deer, all measures should be taken to avoid deer eating the baits. This would involve adding deer repellent to the 1080, adding a further cost to possum control that the Department of Conservation (DOC) sees as unacceptable.

“It is totally deplorable that deer die in agony as a by-kill of possum control simply due to the cost of adding a humane repellent,” says SPCA National CEO, Robyn Kippenberger. “Pest control agencies know they cannot legally use 1080 to control deer numbers but appear to be doing this by stealth.”

DOC asserts that the deer repellent is ineffective but the SPCA is asking for this to be added immediately to future drops, as 1080 drops are scheduled for the West Coast and other areas where deer are prevalent.

“It seems disingenuous of any pest control agency, whether DOC or the Animal Health Board, to count their deer control where 1080 is dropped and then state that these animals are by-kill. 1080 is the ‘driftnet’ of the forest, killing deer, native birds and other animals indiscriminately. This should never be acceptable, particularly animals that die in agony,” Ms Kippenberger added.

The Taihape family noted that although they found four deer dead, they only found one dead possum, the species ostensibly being targeted.

Warnings to dog owners have been posted near 1080 drop sites on the West Coast as the poison is irreversible for dogs that will die a prolonged and agonising death. Any dog affected should be taken to a veterinarian for immediate euthanasia as there is no antidote.