On State-wide mornings with Leon Compton on the 29th of November 2012 we heard Hobart Deputy Mayor Ron Christie expressing his alarm about 1080 fox baits in the Hobart suburbs and rightly so.
Immediately after Ron Christie came the Manager of the Invasive Species Branch (DPIPWE).
This is the second time I have heard this ISB manager making claims that need clarifying, three attempts by myself and Dr Obendorf to question the claims made have resulted in program managers at the ABC refusing to allow myself and Dr Obendorf to reply. This I might add, when the program presenters have asked for comment from the general public!
I currently have two complaints before the ABC’s Audience and Consumer Affairs review board.
The ISB manager again claims “ongoing evidence of foxes and the fact they are widespread.”
Not according to the Hansard of the Parliament:
Mr FARRELL - I thank the honourable member for his questions. First, in relation to 2012 alone, there has been no additional physical evidence discovered indicating the presence of foxes .
Discussing the 1080 toxin used Leon Compton commented “But it doesn’t make foxes evaporate or disappear.”
The manager replies “Ahhm…1080 itself-takes about six hours. The animal starts feeling sick and basically goes to ground.”
Not true, in fact basically the exact opposite occurs from 1080 poisoning of Canids, dogs, foxes, wolves rush around madly, panicking and crashing into obstacles, vomiting, defecating, urinating and screaming in terror and pain until eventually they go into convulsions, tongues protruding and choking on their own vomit.
Leon Compton then asked what to do if you suspect your dog has been 1080 poisoned.
The manager replies “I guess the main thing to do is contact the vet” “We advise vets when we are coming into the area and advise them of the protocols.”
Some discussions on TT some weeks ago involved persons claiming that the DPIPWE/ISB would pick up the tab for any vet bills.
This is not the case, after consulting Somerset, Wynyard, Burnie, Launceston vets and the Registrar of Veterinary Surgeons I am told no such discussion has taken place and no advice bulletins pertaining to such matters have been sent to vets.
There was also denial by the ISB manager of having any knowledge of dogs being poisoned from 1080 fox baits. “And there’s, ahhm…there have been allegations we have knocked over a dozen or so dogs.”
“We have got absolutely no evidence of dogs being poisoned. I dare say there is no evidence.”
I would suggest the manager consults his own department and again the Hansard of the Parliament:
Thursday 27th October 2011.
“If these points were ticked off, we could eradicate foxes. He mentioned a change to a precautionary strategy. He went into some detail on the baiting program. One hundred and fifty thousand 1080 poison baits have been laid across Tasmania in 10 years, yet no poisoned fox has been recovered. However, he acknowledged a couple of domestic dogs were poisoned in the north. Hardly a success, and he agreed not one skerrick of evidence has been brought forward to show that a fox has been within a bull’s roar of a bait.”
Leon Compton then went on to question camera monitoring at 1080 fox bait sites; the answer was feeble to say the least.
ISB manager “Not as a regular occasion…just for the aahhh…the fact it takes effort”.
This again completely contradicts with the Parliament Hansard. In fact one section of Hansard quotes 203 cameras and over 2000 camera hours.
There are many mentions in the Hansard of cameras at 1080 fox bait sites, far too many to mention them all here.
However this one covers them all, basically:
(b) To respond to part (b) I will repeat information previously provided to the member in this House on 30 October 2007. One infra-red camera trial carried out over more than a dozen bait locations produced pictures of spotted-tailed quolls, devils, brushtail possums, wombats, echidnas and feral cats all investigating the sites over six to eight nights.
Many claims being made on “Auntie” and we cannot even get to question the claims why?
I will say in conclusion Leon Compton’s questioning on this last program was encouraging and much more indicative of an investigative journalist.
Maybe the manager of the ISB would accept my offer of a fox debate?