Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


The killing hypocrites of native critters

Claire Gilmour

THE STATE GOVERNMENT’S reaction to a recent arrow killing of a possum was hypocritical. Whilst undeniably this killing was a bad thing, it is no different to the suffering caused by the ‘legal’ mass killing of such creatures by the government still allowing 1080 to be used.
Non-target death: a brushtail possum

Sickening Arrow Killing of Animal
(Mon 4th Feb 2008 – Government media release)

Of the arrow shot possum the head of Wildlife Management Mr Davies said, “This is the senseless killing of an animal. Although not endangered, the brush-tailed possum is a protected species like most of our native animals,”

“Firstly, it is illegal to take them without a permit. Secondly, it is illegal to use an unapproved method to take a protected species. The person or person’s responsible risk fines of up to $10,000 on each count.”

At potentially $10,000 a pop, just imagine the bill to the likes of Gunns and Forestry and other 1080 users for their years of wildlife killing sprees. But apparently it’s different, because that’s legal. It’s a Tassie gov shuffle law. One law for the public and an exemption law for their preferred industry’s or government money grabbing departments. How does the government lead by example? Mass killing is better than single killing? How does legal 1080 killing and suffering make it right? Legal does not make it any less painless or any more right or any less sickening.

Who is overseeing this native wildlife killing spree? Who is ultimately responsible for killing all these animals? We are not talking about half a dozen animals, we are talking thousands, and that’s without counting the cost of what happens down the wildlife chain.

As a wildlife officer has said to us – in the same evening he could drop off an injured wild animal to a carer, then half an hour later, give out a 1080 permit to allow the suffering and destruction of hundreds of other wildlife. That’s apparently how progressive governments (or should that say destructive governments?) set-up their departments to keep the heat off.

1080: A Legal Native Critter Killing Spree …there is no other word for it … it’s simply government hypocrisy, no matter how much they hide it on public land or try and bury it on public land. Sickening isn’t it!

Remains of a wallaby

The deadly carrots

Claire Gilmour

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Justa Bloke

    March 2, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Dismord (#21), perhaps you could respond to the serious issue I raised in post #16.

    Given that our society functions on the profit motive, and given that we find it perfectly OK to kill millions of people in pursuit of profits, why would you expect our rulers to have a different attitude towards other species?

    Non-economic motives like love for our domestic companion animals do not register in the weighing up of what is important.

    I may well be stupid, as you assert, but it seems fairly stupid to me to think that anyone would stop using 1080 if they were going to lose money as a result. If 1080 were to be banned, then a whole other range of motivation would come into play. When a Tasmanian government of any political persuasion bans 1080, pigs will be flying through our forests, but until it is banned it will continue to be used, whatever the consequences.

  2. Ian Rist

    March 2, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Actually Claire there has been 17 known human deaths in the U.S.A from 1080.
    Greenwitch00 according to the Australian Bureau of Rural Science there are over 2 million 1080 meat baits dropped in Australia each year.
    The stuff was found in Iraq and was being stored to be used as a weapon of mass destruction. Still had the “made in the USA” labels intact.
    The people that condone this terrible poison must either be extremely insensitive or extremely thick or both.

  3. Dr Kevin Bonham

    March 1, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    greenwitch00 – 1080 has been important in the success of Western Shield, a WA conservation program that has resulted in the delisting of three mammals formerly considered threatened at state level. I was able to quickly find information concerning its use and regulation in Vic, NSW and Qld so it is clearly not “banned just about everywhere else in Australia”. Indeed, I cannot find any evidence that it is banned anywhere in this country. Campaigns for bans in Queensland have been rejected.

    Not in reply to greenwitch00’s comments, but in reply to comments on other threads, the latest in many strange theories concerning the impacts of 1080 has been one by Dr David Obendorf suggesting that 1080 poisoning may be altering devil behaviour in a way that makes them more likely to bite each other.

    This theory first appeared at post 179 of the Fox Reward thread:

    “Regrettably David (comment #178), it is becoming increasing apparent that the devil decline and the emergence of the infectious facial cancer can be linked to behaviour changes in the interaction between devils – the indirect consequence of using 1080 for the last 5 decades or so.”

    I asked repeatedly for evidence in support of this view, but none was forthcoming. It has now been extended further on the “They arrest angels in Tasmania” thread, where Dr Obendorf writes:

    “This … is as strong as the rotting corpses of the thousands of Tasmanian native animals killed by 1080 poison. The devils feed off the carcasses, sometimes they even cannabalise each other…and they get more aggressive and bite hard and often.

    And then spontaneously an infectious cancer explodes on the scene.”

    I have transferred these comments here, since this thread is about the 1080 poisoning of mammals (both native and introduced apparently, despite the title) and the issue is tangential at best to the above two threads.

    What evidence, if any, does Dr Obendorf have that the easier proliferation of carcasses makes devils become more aggressive and more likely to bite each other? After all, if there is an abundant and easily obtained food supply then, prima facie, one would expect less aggression between devils since there is less competition between them for food.

    Furthermore, if the causal issue is “the use of 1080 for the last 5 decades or so” then why has it taken that long for DFTD to appear?

    I’ll look into the NZ evidence that Dr Obendorf refers to in #10, but I would be interested to know where he has seen claims of rapid degradation made with specific reference to 1080 contained in the carcasses of animals killed by said toxin. Usually such claims are made with respect to (i) breakdown in cases where the animal ingests a sub-lethal dose and survives (ii) breakdown in cases of leakage into water supplies.

  4. Charles and Claire Gilmour

    March 1, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Mooshi deserved to have her say from the grave. You are right Shirley, there are many people who have lost their pets from 1080, one of our neighbours lost 2. One died in front of one of their children. There not doubt would be many more cases where the pet just didn’t return home. As an ex vet nurse, it is the most grisly death I have ever personally encountered. I have also seen a wallaby die from 1080 poison in my backyard. It is not a peaceful death.

    Wallabies travel well out of the 2km range that the documentation on 1080 says. In my dogs case, no one checked to see if the 1080 baits were picked up at the required time. The baits were left 3 weeks longer than they should have been. I had been extremely vigilant, keeping the dog restrained and checking the forest around our home. On the night she died I let her out to the toilet before bed, for no more than 10 minutes, even though, according to the documentation I had received, the poisoning period had finished. She came back as soon as I called her. At 3 in the morning, beside my bed where Mooshi slept, hell descended. After restraining a normally very placid dog, who was now in so much agony she had turned into a rabid monster, with no recognition of who I was, and although the vet had said he didn’t believe she would make it, I tried to get her there, but she died on the way.

    The wallaby carcass was found the next morning, on our property, not 15 metres from the front door, 3 km from the 1080 baiting site, the carcass was fresh having only very recently died – 3 weeks after it should have done. Doing my own investigating, I found the baits that were left and many many carcasses of wallabies and possums. I have many more photos of carcasses that had been eaten, including bones, and baits lying in water draining depressions – water which ultimately ended up in the local creek. Nothing had been removed. The flocks of forest ravens led me to the carcasses.

    When a 1080 poisoning was done on a nearby plantation, FT was worried if I found any poisoned wildlife that I would go to the media, they did not ring to inform us they were coming, and as we have a locked gate, in fact took a back door route into our property and came and virtually begged me, that if I found any carcass to notify them and to please not go to the media. They assured me they would have people looking for dead carcasses and remove them. This entailed a few people on 4 wheelers driving up and down a few roads in the area. When I encountered these people I asked them if they had found anything, they said they hadn’t found a single one and the baiting must not have been very successful. My comment was long the lines of, ‘did they expect the wildlife to die graciously on the roads to make it more convenient for them to pick up’? They said they didn’t really know how to find them. This alone should ring alarm bells!! I told them to look for the flocks of crows. They had no idea where to look and traipsing through the bush was obviously too much trouble for them. Thus the carcasses were left rotting in the bush for the likes of devils and quolls. I have absolutely no doubt this is standard procedure, though obviously not a written one, leaving them to rot and continuing the poison regime.

    I have no confidence that proper safety procedures are carried out in regard to 1080. Which I believe my cases show. And whatever information which is negative to the continued use of 1080, some would obviously prefer to be covered up and not released to the general public. How safe can the public be if that is how they deal with deadly poisons?

    The other risks that they don’t seem to take into account are: a 1080 poisoned pet turning on a child, a legal shooter eating a poisoned wallaby, bush walkers drinking from downstream waterways where 1080 baits or carcasses lay. Is that what it will take – a human to die from 1080, before they wake up to the dangers? If ministers ultimately responsible could be put in the position of the public, maybe they wouldn’t be so heedless. Or is that just wishful thinking?

    Your right David (3), not only the loss of a dear pet, but 10 years of pedigree dog breeding and the last to continue the line, I was well prepared to sue and no doubt had a very good case, (purely to teach them a lesson, as no amount of money could buy back what I had lost). A number of people, including professionals, warned me about what the result would be from the testing procedures. What a stitched up killing field Tasmania has become.

    But who says the dead can’t haunt and speak!

  5. Dismord

    March 1, 2008 at 1:24 am

    “Those who have posted here should explain why it is wrong to kill other species in the name of profit, whilst it is perfectly OK to kill humans for the same reason.”
    Justa Bloke on 29/02/08
    Are you trying to be funny? Maybe you’re just plain sick, stupid of both!

  6. Ian Rist

    February 29, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Sorry Neo Conned, they go back to their den and die… thats why we can’t find any dead foxes. Trained fox carcass detector dogs ans all.

  7. Neo Conned

    February 28, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Should we start a collection of dead pet stories?

    Wallaby in the paddock next door … dead. 1080 baits laid over 3 km away (should kill a wallaby within 200metres or so. Not this time.)We received no notification of the poisoning, so obviously we weren’t neighbours. It took some sleuthing to find out where the carrots were dropped…

    Neighbour’s dog … rolled in it had a sample and died at the neighbour’s back door.

    Our dog did the same we assume – never saw it again It never ran away in all its 12 years. They just run and run foaming and then drop … somewhere in the bush I suppose. We even had a pen to keep the dog gaoled for the months needed if baits are laid in winter … but we weren’t warned.


  8. David Alford

    February 28, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Dismord, keep in mind people often joke about things they are actually mortified of. E.g., doctors crossing the line with off color jokes, etc.

  9. Justa Bloke

    February 28, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    This thread is seriously unbalanced.

    1080 is absolutely necessary to protect plantation trees, so as to maximise the yield per hectare, and therefore the profits. Other means of killing native fauna are not as cost-effective. Mr Doctorbonham explained this to me on another thread.

    Family pets, about which we can get so sentimental, contribute very little to the economy compared to companies like Gunns.

    Individuals who shoot possums with bows and arrows are likewise not contributing to the economy, so their killing of native fauna is in a different category from that which covers 1080 poisoning.

    Those who have posted here should explain why it is wrong to kill other species in the name of profit, whilst it is perfectly OK to kill humans for the same reason.

  10. Steve

    February 28, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    I’d have to agree with you Dismord. On a recent trip along a NE road I noted two freshly killed wombats. These had not been there when I had gone the other way a few hours before. This was one of those rare Tasmanian roads, straight and flat. I could see the corpses long before I reached them.
    Accidents happen and I could imagine one wombat making a fatal last second dash but not two, not in broad daylight on a quiet road.

  11. Ian Rist

    February 28, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    The nonsense that has been put out there over the years… “a Tasmanian Devil would have to consume 16 fox baits to receive a lethal dose, a Quoll about 8 baits in a very short period of time”
    At 3mg of 1080 per fox bait it then takes 48 mg of 1080 to kill a Devil?
    I am amazed how silent the puppets of the establishment are… maybe they have just dumbed down hoping it will all go away. I can assure it will not.

  12. alison bleaney

    February 28, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    When regulators use pesticides, they do so knowing that the benefits outweigh the costs- otherwise they are not supposed to be used.

    Where is the information documented that shows Tasmanians that using 1080 in the present fashion does just that?
    What costs are being accounted for? These must include the actual costs, the social costs and the indirect costs by all- including native wildlife – those affected by 1080.
    Can someone please give me directions to this document?

  13. Dismord

    February 28, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    The ongoing obscenity of 1080 in Tasmania is only one issue the State Gov’t will not address with anything resembling honesty or concern. Does anyone care that Tasmania is the road kill capital of the world? Watching other motorists recently I came to realize that many Tasmanians make a ‘sport’ out of killing native animals by aiming their cars at them and speeding up. I recently overheard a discussion in a pub in Launceston in which it was ‘jokingly’ said. “Ya only get one point for echidnas, they’re so bloody slow it’s just too easy mate”.

  14. Shirley Glen

    February 28, 2008 at 3:09 am

    I am really sorry that you lost a friend Claire, and in such a bad way too. I know what that is like as I am sure many other Tasmanian pet owners know also. Recently a farmer in a fairly well populated area – lots of pets around that means – was given a permit to use 1080 for wallaby control. He was supposed to collect all the carcases but he didn’t have a hope of doing that because the wallabies, possums including ringtails, and other unintended victims didn’t die in the prescribed area. They went home to the bits of backyard bush where they lived, and were found for weeks in various stages of decomposition much farther away than they were supposed to die. Years ago I lost a beloved cat who used to get his own rabbits, through 1080, and the vet tried hard to save him to no avail. I wasn’t told by the offending farmer that he was even laying the stuff around. But I know who did it and I know that his own dog died of the poison.
    There must be thousands of sad 1080 stories out there, breaking thousands of hearts. It is time we all stood up to the govt approvals system of the legal killing of our wildlife and pets.

  15. David Obendorf

    February 28, 2008 at 12:47 am

    There are many convenient myths about 1080 poison.

    Recent ‘myth-busting’ in NZ demolished the rapid environmental degradation of 1080 story.

    Active poison was retained in poisoned carcasses for many months after death. Consequently animals that might feed off these carcasses can be poisoned as d. nicholas has explained. 1080 poisoned brush-tailed possum carcasses retained 1080 (undegraded) three months after death and especially over the cool to cold winter months.

  16. john Hayward

    February 27, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    It will give no solace to Claire and Charles that the killing of their dog is almost certainly unlawful as well as tragic.

    The use of 1080 Tassie style appears illegal on several fronts. The approval of the stuff require that all affected parties, i.e neighbours are accorded a right to be heard on the matter, and that they are given reasons for any decision. this is not done in Tas. There also would be compelling threatened species, animal welfare, and private nuisance arguments against it in a legal system of any integrity.

    1080 is not necessary from even the crassest utilitarian standpoint. Without taxpayer subsidies it is considerably more expensive than efficient repellents, and it kills birds and some insects as well as non-target mammals.

    In short, the stuff is as repulsive as the people running the state.

    John hayward

  17. David Alford

    February 27, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    d.nicholas, your experience confirms the possibility if not likelihood virtually any animal encountering the carcass or bones of a 1080 poisoned animal is at risk to secondary poisoning.

    Why? because almost all animals (even herbivores) will supplement their diet by eating the bones of other animals.

  18. Proud Tasmanian

    February 27, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    It is so sad that a family has lost its beloved pet and that our country’s wildlife is being poisoned so a private company can strip as much money from Tasmania as possible. Our sympathy to your family.

    Toxicology can be done at mainland laboratories and evidence is needed for any action to be successful.

    ‘They’ are relying on the apathy or indoctrinated feeling of helplessness that many Tasmanians feel to continue doing what they due without fear of redress.

    Are there any legal eagles out there to advise how we can bring these bastards to account for each and every breach of our rights?

    It’s like eating an elephant…one bite at a time and drive the ‘creature’ mad trying to fend off multiple nibbles!! There are so many of us that we can make a difference.

  19. don davey

    February 27, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    P.S. Claire !
    i took the liberty of sending the piece (with photo) to the Prime Ministers web site.


  20. don davey

    February 27, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    You have lost one of the family Claire ! sadly most don’t see it that way, but be sure that many of us are committed to ensuring it doesn,t happen again.
    I feel very sad for your loss.

    Don Davey.

  21. d.nicholas

    February 27, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Many years ago my wife and i and our little house dog were walking on our own property . The dog found an old wallaby hip bone and carried it home.
    She became extremely ill and we took her to our vet who treated her for suspected poisoning. He also took samples from her which he sent to a colleague at the Sydney university. Results confirmed that bone gave her 1080 poison even though it was quite old. We discovered the hard way that 1080 poison can remain in the bones of poisoned animals .
    Our trauma could possibly have been associated with the establishment of a hardwood plantation close to our property, but the good news is that after two visits per day for drip feeds and medication for a period of three weeks our dog survived to live a normal life.

  22. David Obendorf

    February 27, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Claire, the ongoing use of 1080 poisoning does place State Government officers in a very hypocritical situation indeed. And this paradoxical situation is not without intent, in my opinion. Forcing the field officers to do this dirty work has been manufactured with purpose such that as your first-hand experience suggest – a DPIW officer can be a “good cop” one minute and a “bad cop” the next. For some individuals who aren’t drugged by the lure of job security of a Public Service job, it would likely be causing a serious internal dilemma over their personal ethics, that is, if they actually see the consequences to wildlife of their 1080 approvals.

    For all the media coverage generated by the brush-tail possum body with the multiple arrows through it (very graphic), I trust that the Crown Prosecution has the forensic evidence to conform that this possum was in fact killed in the manner purported by the person charged for this Robin Hood-style shooting incident and not a freshly dead possum used for macabre target practice. Does any TT readers know the circumstances?

    On the matter of the thousands of dead marsupials killed by 1080 and the secondary poisoning of domestic dogs scavenging poisoned wildlife carcasses, can I say that if the owners of these dead dogs had a Tasmania Government Analytical Service that offered a cost-effective 1080 poisoning testing maybe there would have been some successful prosecutions against the users of this poison over the last 50 years!

    It is not with guile and purpose that this most basic of poison testing service – especially in Tasmania – has been out of reach to the general public, dog owners or to nature conservation officers who may wish to assess the impact of 1080 bait drops on non-target species like bettong, wombat, forester kangaroos and bandicoots.

    After working in DPIW for 17 years as an animal pathologist I had first-hand experience as the ‘road blocks’ put in the way of getting 1080 poison testing done in Tasmania.

  23. Ian Rist

    February 27, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Claire I am so sorry. I certainly understand how you feel.
    Why doesn’t the Federal EPBC ACT APPLY TO TASMANIA. To me the EPBC act clearly shows that it provides criminal and civil sanction for a person taking an action that has a significant impact on a listed threatened species.
    I would be sure that that laying a couple of hundred thousand 1080 meat baits in Tasmanian Devil and Spotted Tailed Quoll habitat constitutes a serious threat.
    Then maybe Tassie has an exemption, no wonder they are trying so hard to prove the fox threat.
    Methinks you have stuffed up big time boys.

  24. Dave Groves

    February 27, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Of course you must know about “Business as usual” in Tasmania.
    A new department has been established here to address the “issues”.
    Forestry’s Undercover Criminal Knowledge of Environmental Destruction department or F.U.C.K.E.D. as they are known is hard on the case.

    Can D.P.IW. hear what it is saying?

    It’s ok to kill masses of native animals endangered or otherwise as long as you have a permit?
    So if the arrow firers had a permit and a chunk of 1080 they could have fed the possum, watched it writhe in agony to its death and that would be hunky dory?

    But shoot it with an arrow and no “permit” and your arse is grass…a ten kay fine awaits?
    F.U.C.K.E.D. really is hard at work!

    This possum had a cherry picker recover its body…..what happens to the thousands of carcasses that 1080 removes life from?
    Is the new plan to break out some sort of mass recovery team or will “mother nature” take care of them?

    Does the forest industry have a permit to kill family pets or are they considered collateral damage in the race to abolish our native forests and to turn Tasmania into exotic monoculture?

    Claire this has to be one of the most bizarre stories I have heard in a while.
    Sorry for your loss and the ongoing suffering out your way.
    Dave Groves.

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