The 1080 Debate

The people vs big brother


Fatally poisoned and waiting for death

1080 is a metabolic poison that is extremely toxic to all air-breathing organisms. It blocks the body’s muscle and organs ability to absorb energy from its food, and results in a slow and inhumane death, typically 8 -24 hours for birds, 2-4 days for large mammals. There is no known antidote for this deadly poison.

New Zealand has a very real problem with introduced species of plants and animals that are displacing all indigenous species. To control weeds, the country is pouring massive amounts of Roundup and other highly toxic weed killers over the land that end up in the food chain for us to consume.

Similarly, to control the possums, rats, stoats and weasels, the authorities find it convenient just to dump a load of 1080 poison which kills off as much as half of the target species in the target area. But unfortunately, it also kills off indigenous species at the same rate and what's left of New Zealand forests that once rang with Birdsong are silent.


1080 or Sodium fluoroacetate is an organofluorine chemical compound with the formula FCH2CO2Na.  This colourless salt has a taste similar to that of sodium chloride and is used as a metabolic poison. Like the similar chemical sodium fluoride, 1080 almost became a popular pesticide until the negative impact was discovered and it was either banned or had heavy restrictions placed on this use in most countries, except New Zealand.

Because 1080 is manufactured in New Zealand, one can only speculate that there must be some interpersonal links between the manufacturer, those who assess the product for safety and the government that pushes for its use. But this question is perhaps best asked by an investigative reporter who will take up this challenge?

There is no doubt that while the 1080 poisoning campaigns have had limited success in reducing pest numbers, they have not helped to eradicate those pests which soon increase their numbers and they also increase their tolerance to the poison.

The government claims that 1080 is the most cost-effective method and admits that there is some collateral damage, but that collateral damage is minimal and worth the risk. Yet those who argue against 1080 use suspect and may even have some proof of a greater indigenous species loss than what the government will admit to.

So this is not a solution and it never will be, because it also decimates the species that we want to protect. The only solution is to go back to doing things the old-fashioned way. With deer, the only viable method is hunting. Although some vegetarians and animal rights campaigners may object, this is the most humane solution.

For the other animal pests, a combination of hunting and trapping will also work. This means instead of the government spending tens of millions of dollars on environmental poisons that are failing to deliver, it would give thousands of people jobs.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, hunting severely reduced the numbers of pest species that had exploded during the war years. But with the advent of deer farming, it became less economic to hunt and the bounty was removed.

There are still some who make a living from hunting, venison is in great demand as is possum fur. A sensible government instead of using poisons would put the unemployed to work either for wages or by offering a bounty as an incentive. As species numbers diminish, the bounty price would need to be increased in order to provide hunters with a living wage.

Similar compounds to 1080 are:

C2H2FNaO2 or sodium;2-fluoroacetate
C2H2FNaO2 or sodium;2-deuterio-2-fluoroacetate
C2H2FNaO2: sodium;(2R)-2-deuterio-2-fluoroacetate
C2H2FNaO2; or sodium;2-fluoranylacetate
C2H2ClFNaO2: or chloro 2-fluoroacetate a free radical
C2H2FO2: or 2-fluoro-1-$l^{1}-oxidanylethanone
C2H2FO2-: 2-fluoroacetate
Pub Chem Sodium Fluoroactate

What's the difference between 1080 and Sodium fluoride?

NaF or FNa and FHNa - sodium;hydrofluoride, sodium;hydron;fluoride, sodium;hydrofluoride, sodium;fluorine-18(1-), Pub Chem Fluoride

I'm no chemist, but there seems to be a clear similarity between sodium fluoride and 1080 which have both been used for the same purpose and around the world, that use restricted because of the danger to public health. Yet in New Zealand we use 1080 with great abandon and half the world fluoridates its water.

Having observed this nonsense over the past 40 years, the use of 1080 doesn't add up it doesn't make sense and not only is it a threat to our native species, it's also a threat to public health and safety.

Ban 1080


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