Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 19 (4) (2006)
|Abstract||Sodium monofluoroacetate (1080) is a mammalian pesticide used in different parts of the world for the control of mammalian pest species. In New Zealand it is used extensively and very successfully as a conservation management tool for the control of brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) – an introduced marsupial that has become a substantial agricultural and conservation management pest. Possums pose a threat to cattle farming in New Zealand as they are a vector for bovine tuberculosis. In protected natural areas, possum browsing is responsible for large scale defoliation of native vegetation. As with many other pesticides, there has been some degree of popular concern about the use of this toxin and its safety, with particular reference to non-target effects. These concerns have been associated with potential non-target effects on human health, and the health of animals of recreational value (e.g., hunting dogs and game animals). This has led to the development of a strong “anti-1080” lobby in New Zealand. In contrast, this study encompasses a science-based risk analysis focusing on the potential risks to non-target native wildlife with a particular focus on chronic toxicity. It finds that there is evidence that 1080 may have endocrine disrupting capabilities (with potential relevance for non-target wildlife) but that this still needs more detailed investigation. This can be clarified by further targeted research. Further research is also needed to test the degradation rates of 1080 and its breakdown products at ecologically-relevant temperatures (i.e., winter stream temperatures – below 11 °C). Such research may demonstrate that some adjustment to 1080 risk management is warranted in New Zealand, or it may help to put to rest the current controversy over the use of this cost effective conservation management tool.|
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