Image for A dog’s death from 1080 poisoning ...

*Pic: Protest ... in NZ ... All pics are from NZ showing how the Kiwis do their poisoning ...





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Some weeks ago now, a young woman came to see me to collect some anti-1080 bumper stickers. As we chatted she told me that her whole family hated 1080, and then she told me the reason why.  I asked her if I could record the story and she agreed, and said I could use her correct full name as well, although I have decided to use only her Christian name.  I have recorded it exactly as she told it to me ...

Through the Eyes of a Six-Year-Old ...

Shannon’s family are farmers from the small town of Heriot in West Otago. Her grandparents built huts in the Blue Mountains - for hunting, fishing and family holidays. She and her family have had holidays there for as long as she can remember.

When Shannon was six years old,  in 2001, the family went on a pig hunt, something they did when time allowed. They took their three pig-hunting dogs and also their family dog. There had been a 1080 poison drop in the area at some stage relatively recently, but it had been declared safe again by the authorities,  and in any case their dogs were trained not to eat possums.  Shannon’s parents also took the added precaution of always feeding them very well before a hunt.

Shannon remembers the three pig-hunting dogs were really thirsty after the hunt, before they were put in the car to come home. On the way home the hunting dogs were in the back of the old car, separated from the rest of the car interior by fencing wire mesh.  About five minutes into the forty minute drive home, the hunting dogs started barking and howling.  Horrifyingly, they started chewing through the wire mesh. They were crazed, and their eyes were bloodshot and full of panic.

The next thing she remembers is standing by the side of the road with her 12 year old brother and 13 year old sister, not understanding what was happening,  as her father shot all three of the dogs in front of them. Of course her father had realized, quite quickly, that they had been poisoned by 1080. To this day her brother, 12 at the time, gets very emotional when he thinks about it. One of them was his pet dog, Blue.

They went back to the hut and buried the dogs and got rid of the dogbox. The family dog, a black Labrador called Ice,  in particular her mother’s beloved pet,  was with them but had not been hunting so it was assumed she was OK.  She was in pup.

Back at home, after this traumatic day,  at about 11.00pm Ice started howling and barking. They all assumed it was because she missed her friends, but she snapped her metal chain and broke through the glass door from the porch into the house. Shannon remembers her mother rushing in to tell them all to get onto the top bunk and not to move or make a sound. Her mother told them that if Ice heard them she would come for them, which Shannon remembers as an absolutely terrifying and incomprehensible thing to say,  because this was the family dog!

Her father locked himself in the wash house with Ice, ( ‘risking his life to save his family’ is how Shannon put it ), and shot her.

That was four much-loved creatures, including one in pup, gone in one day because of 1080. They think Ice, who didn’t go on the hunt, must have drunk water from the creek and that the creek must have contained a dead possum. Either that or she ate some of a dead possum that had been washed down the creek.

Shannon, now 19,  has been terrified of dogs ever since. She remembers seeing their teeth, bared and vicious, and the panic and madness and fear in their bloodshot eyes. She says it has scarred her for life as far as dogs are concerned.

Ice was Shannon’s mother’s ‘baby’, Shannon says, and ever since the terrible circumstances surrounding Ice’s death, her mother has never been able to face having another family dog.

Carol SawyerCarol Sawyerlives in retirement in the beautiful little lakeside town of Wanaka, in the South Island of New Zealand. She has a longstanding love of birds and wildlife, and used to have a small bird sanctuary, where she rehabilitated injured and orphaned birds back to the wild. She says: I held a public information meeting in Wanaka last November before the virgin aerial 1080 drop ( by the Dept of Conservation ) in the nearby Matukituki Valley. Clyde and Steve Graf were the guest speakers and they showed excerpts from their international award-winning film, “Poisoning Paradise”. I called the meeting “The Truth About 1080”. I am working hard at present to try and raise awareness here about a virgin aerial 1080 drop ( by TBFree ), planned for this autumn on Mt Roy in Wanaka.

1080 Eyewitness is the Facebook Page set up to record terrible instances of 1080 poisoning ...

• Penelope Marshall: Stories from New Zealanders inspired by our TT story ( Here: New Zealand is stockpiling pure Compound 1080 ... )

From Facebook ... Kate Winter’s‎ 1080 eyewitness: A short episode of 1080 Poisoning in New Zealand:

On 7th September 1966, Ian Arthur Buchanan died from central nervous system depression accompanied by respiratory and cardiac failure due to 1080 poisoning.
 For more than fifty years, 1080 poison (sodium monofluoroacetate) has been aerially distributed in great quantities over New Zealand’s forests, bush and farmland in their government’s efforts to control those introduced species regarded as “pests.” Being a slow and inhumane poison capable of killing many times over through secondary poisoning, 1080 is one of the most controversial toxins in use today.

In 2002, a bright, healthy West Coast kid had an encounter with 1080 which would change his life forever. Callum Buchanan was seven years old when he travelled several kilometres in a car alongside an open bucket of 1080 poison. It was a cold winter afternoon and the fan heater was turned up to blow warm air around the vehicle.

Callum says, “We had been up the valley to check on our horse, there had been a 1080 drop and a lot of poison had gone in the water supply. We took a bucket of 1080 in the back of the car to the Regional Council (the authority responsible for distributing the poison) in Greymouth. I got sick on the way home. My heart wouldn’t stop beating real fast and I didn’t feel right. There’s lots I don’t remember.”

2010 - Callum is now fifteen years old and he still suffers from acute tachycardia with a resting heart rate of 187. He has missed much of his schooling over the past eight years due to ill health and he is continually frustrated by his inability to remember things. Callum’s immune deficiency makes him extremely susceptible to viruses and he has recently contracted Scheuermans, a debilitating disease of the spine.

Throughout this time the New Zealand medical fraternity have refused to acknowledge 1080 poisoning as the cause of Callum’s condition.

Callum says, “Every time my heart raced my nose kept bleeding. No doctor would see us for two days, then I saw a paediatrician who wanted to help me, but then he changed his mind. I was sent to a heart specialist in Christchurch and spent time in hospital being monitored because my heart was like it was trying to get out of my chest. In the end I stopped going to the hospital with my heart racing because I got sick of being told there was nothing wrong, that it wasn’t the 1080.”

Callum’s mother, Lyn, remembers this time vividly.

She says, “When Callum got sick no-one in authority wanted to know. In the finish I went to Crown Public Health and that got things moving but of course then it was too late to get any live proof of the poisoning. Callum saw a pediatrician who was going to do everything in his power to help him, then at Cal’s next visit he just didn’t want to know.

My cousin was in the car with us and she had a splitting headache afterwards. Then she started having seizures and she’s suffered from them ever since.

Callum changed from an outgoing bubbly child to someone entirely different. He became quiet and withdrawn, he forgot so much, his memory even now is a problem to him. If he is around anyone with a virus he gets really ill, any kind of sickness really knocks him.

When he was first ill with the 1080, he was off school for six months. When he went back his teacher couldn’t believe he was the same kid. Callum was always bright and could pick lessons up real easy but when he went back to school he had to relearn everything. We were lucky we had an excellent teacher.

Even now Cal still doesn’t understand why everyone in the medical profession turned away from him. I feel the same way.”

• In 1994, Chris Carrington was transporting a truckload of 1080 poison when a bucket split, spilling poison on his hands.

His initial symptoms were flu-like. Several hours later he lost consciousness. He awoke with chest pains and violent tremors in his arms and legs. Hospitalized twice, doctors put him through a series of tests but were unable to reach a specific diagnosis.

Chris says, “I was completely exhausted mentally and physically and would frequently collapse into semi-consciousness. My memory and coordination was shot. I couldn’t eat and had wild mood swings. The scariest thing was the heart spasms and stabbing pains that felt like my chest was about to collapse under the pressure.”

At 32 years of age Chris was 110 kgs, strong, fit and healthy. After his encounter with 1080 he lost almost half his body weight, weighing just over 60kgs. He continued to suffer from a racing heart, weakness and memory lapses.

Once again, the doctors concerned failed to agree as to whether 1080 was the cause of his ill health or some other unidentifiable malady. NZ’s Accident Compensation Corporation, reimbursing Chris for some loss of income, classified his symptoms as “work-related stress.”

Author Kate Winters says, “You have to ask yourself, with tons of poison chucked from helicopters each year, how many others are unknowingly poisoned by 1080. All too often, the causes of chronic fatigue, heart failure and respiratory conditions are merely put down to “work-related stress.”

After feeling the effects of 1080 herself, Kate decided to write her book,“Scenic Dream or Silent Nightmare?” Published in 2009, it is an intriguing novel based on New Zealanders’ real 1080 experiences and it includes Callum Buchanan’s tragic story.

At the same time, public opposition to aerial poisons in New Zealand is mounting. The pertinent question is, how long can this milk and meat-producing paradise continue to blanket poison vast areas of forest, bush and farmland whilst still claiming its “Clean Green” status?

New Zealand film makers, Clyde and Steve Graf, have spent much of their time and effort promoting another side to the official line that 1080 poison is “a necessary evil” in a graphic documentary. Poisoning Paradise - Ecocide New Zealand won Best International Film - Environment and Ecology - at the International Film Festival Ireland in 2010, and Best Film - Environment and Ecology - at the Heart of England International Film Festival, 2010.

The documentary also won the “Conservation Advocacy Award” at the Japan Wildlife Film Festival, 2011.

As the years go by, the New Zealand government continues to poison vast tracts of bush, forest and farmland with several tonnes of pure 1080 each year. The aerial drops have a devastating effect on rural people and contaminate not only the land but rivers, streams and water supplies.

Its poisoning effects are as follows:

Disease confusion: Gastroenteritus, Heart attack, Viral Infection.

No criminal cases on record

2-10mg lethal dose.1mg is enough to cause serious poisoning.

Can be administered in food or drink or absorbed through broken skin.

Symptoms show in 30 mins to several hours. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, agitation, confusion, seizures, lethargy, coma, respiratory arrest, cardiac arrhythmias.

The salt’s metabolite, fluorocitrate, blocks normal enzyme mechanisms in the body, acting mainly on the heart and central nervous system. (ref. Criminal Poisoning: Investigational Guide for Law Enforcement, Toxicologists, Forensic Scientists, and Attorneys by John H. Trestrail.)

•  ‪Anamaria Jones:‬‪ I wonder how many people have gone to the grave with these very same symptoms. I do know that my husband suffered terrible depression and had a breakdown immediately after he removed 1080 baits from off our house roof and watertank from an aerial drop gone wrong. 5-6 years later at the age of 43 he died suddenly of a heart attack. I sure understand the feeling of not being helped or duck-shoved from one medical professional to another. We still are having this very problem with my grandchild who has a rare brain disease. No help here re medical or educational. WE need to start a medical register and start making the government and doc accountable.


‪Bob Williamson‬‪ Kate Winters: These are very moving and disturbing accounts, your book is one i have yet to read,I will certainly do so now.‬‬

• Wise and wonderful words from Jeanette Mallowes:   Please don’t pick on the Security Guards nor take the piss out of them….I am one…and I believe I am working for the same company and area boss as at the Stockton Mine at this time although I am up the north island. The economy is that bad that a job is a job…needless to say I am doing work that sometimes involves areas and industries that go against the grain of what I believe in (being an apparent Greenie with hellishly strong conservationist convictions), but I am remaining financially dependent from the government and its pitifully demeaning financial support benefits….yet I have chosen to take casual work to earn my keep…..(damned if I do, damned if I don’t)...its not a very easy choice…believe me…I had many sleepless nights and internal emotional conflicts deciding whether I should attend certain work sites and do certain jobs, but financially surviving in todays society pushed me into doing work in areas I loathed with a passion. I would guess that some of these guards have similar situations…they need work….winz push you to work, turn any work down you lose your benefit after 3 refusals, Yes we are often just guinea pigs for these jobs, but we also have to be able to afford to have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies like everyone else deserves….and frankly if I had chosen not to do the jobs I have done and not had any income to feed myself then someone else would do it and get that income that we all badly need to survive. I have protested several times before…against the TPPA, 1080 drops, saving trees from being unnecessarily chopped down, and so it goes on…and always will because in a capitalist society money always win over most else…including morality and common sense. These security guards need income like everyone else…please do not victimise them with ridicule. I have lived on the S.I West Coast before….have met with DOC from Hokitika to discuss and object to 1080 drops in their control area down there…my 10 year old son even came to the meetings and took them on asking why are they doing it when they know its dangerous, I know what happens, I know how dangerous it is(a friend just lost 2 of his dogs 3 weeks ago due to a 1080 drop in mid canterbury)....but believe me if I ever had to perform duties where my personal safety was more at risk than the importance of the nature of the job then I would be out of there and no I would not have done this job at Stockton…because I am very aware. I strongly believe 1080 should be totally banned in NZ….no questions about that at all and I will always hold that conviction…nor would I protect/guard any site that stores the crap. People are not honestly, nor fully informed about risks of a lot of things….I have good sense and judgement to research for myself if I have any doubts…and believe me I am not a very trusting person especially when it comes to dealing with bureaucracy, government officials etc etc..I always question. Good calls, Bad calls…happens every day….unfortunately capitalism coupled with self imposed importance of occupation, status and heraldic governing bodies tend to override common sense and make more bad calls than good ones.

• Graeme Merekara Shelford: I worked with enviroment waikato for 2years…done trapping 1080.and also aerial drops..ignorant to the damage i was helping was work..outside and in the bush…ride around all day setting traps..laying carrot…piss easy…the amount of times we went onto properties poisoning and trapping fencelines…the arguements my boss went threw az we knocked on the doors of farmers…they looked and treated us like..we were there to take there farms…the amount of times i sat and listened to people tellin me it dont kill nothin but possumz…being a hunter and hearing of all the dogs getting killed from 10/80 i had suspicions…wasnt until one day went back to put freash poisin in pots that i got too see it first hand..a huge green hill that we used to park on had big what look like plough marks on it…go in the gate look up and it was where the longest serving dude on our team left a pot too close to the fence..and cows got it…they ran up and down that hill inna crazy fit they tore up half the hill…6 dead…blood commin our nose ears rabid lookin froth..eyes popped out…UGLY..OR the time we went and poisoned a farm block…in the middle ov his farm a block ov native..birdz deafening you with there songs of life…pre baited it…2weeks later poisoned it…went back to load freash poison…and it wasnt hard to notice the eerie silence…accomadated by the no birds at all….that was enough for me…i no we coulda trapped that block..and alot of other blocks…they chose poison…not proud…makes me sick just thinking bout the amount of wildlife i woulda help kill…keep up the good work…keep nz green…and not that toxic green either…peace

• ‪Graeme Merekara Shelford‬‪: Or the day the bucket snapped off the chopper had about a ton ov poisonous carrot inna place it wasnt supposed to have been dropped…collect the bucket and hope for rain…‬‬

• G‪raeme Merekara Shelford: ‬‪Bro the damage i helped cause…telling it to the papers wouldnt make up for one aerial drop i waz involved in…or one wrong species of animal i killed…still feel the guilt evertime a fellow hunter told me his or a friendz dog died cause of 1080..ive held onto thiz over 15 yearz…and only when i spoke out a lil bit ov wieght went off my lost 3 main doggs to 10/80…he made me bury them…4,00 in the morning burying doggs…and they wernt just doggs…they were mates..and providerz…‬

• Graeme Merekara Shelford: ‬‪ I wuz 28 when that happened…who still listenz to dad at 28…it was the way he told me that i knew i put rhe bullet in the chamber…i mighten of pulled the trigger…but i was an acssessory too killing those doggz…again no arguement…he was right‬‬.

‪• Graeme Merekara Shelford: i dont beat myself up about it…its the first time ive ever talked about it actually…i think thats what makes this sound like that…dayum now im getting a lil confused…thanx everyone for your words and your ears…1080 they dont niss the creeks and.rivers.they drop the shit straight in there…on top ov our watercress puha piko sits on top of watercress patches cause its to light punch into the be careful ..wont be long before we have a human death from 1080.if we havent already‬‬.


‪Graeme Merekara Shelford‬‪: I told my experiance with 1080 on another page.they asked me to tell it on this i told him i would.cheerz again…im still in contact with a few of the oldskool who worked beside me..who could validate my wife just finished reading it..and recalls another time.when a 14 hour day of travel work all day and come home.only took one time..came home took off my boots.had dinner went to bed..woke to yelps and and somthing going nuts under the pups under the house runing up and down inna crazy fit.hitting his head on all the floor the door too get him out..he comes out frothing.sun hits his eyes…hes gone…find him dead.get him tested..licked my boots off the doorstep crazy‬‬.

• Ian Rist, in Comments: TT Readers and others may now begin to realise why I was so opposed to this stupid and ill-advised 1080 meat based “fox” baiting campaign that claimed the precious lives of so many native animals,dogs and peoples pets. If the people that instigated this terrible chapter in Tasmanian History have a conscience they surely now must have trouble with it all?