MP pushes poison ban
A Victorian MP is pushing for the state government to stop using 1080 poison.
At a sitting of Victoria’s Legislative Council is sitting in Bright this week, Animal Justice Party's Andy Meddick is pushing for a ban on the use of the chemical poison in Victoria's alpine region.
He says it would help the region recover from devastating bushfires.
Bait poisoned with 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) is used to remove feral animals from protected areas, but the species it impacts are highly indiscriminate.
The area Mr Meddick is referring includes the site of a recent discovery of endangered alpine dingoes, which are vulnerable to baited meats.
“A lot of those endangered species and threatened species that survived are going to need every chance they can get,” he said.
“We have an opportunity to get rid of our 1080 poison in that environment, encourage the alpine dingo to do the job, to actually come back to numbers that are sustainable in that area, and to protect those other threatened native fauna.”
The local Alpine Shire Council does not use 1080 poison, but Victoria’s DELWP and Parks Victoria employ it in the region's national parks and state forests.
Also, many farmers rely on the bait as a way to reduce the numbers of wild and native dogs that maim and kill their livestock.
Mr Meddick said landholders should be consulted, but pointed to studies that have shown most wild dogs carry dingo genetics, meaning culling them would undermine their important role as apex predators.
In New South Wales, the Blue Mountains City Council banned the use of 1080 earlier this year. Australian conservation NGO the Invasive Species Council called on the council reconsider the use of the poison, arguing it actually helps fauna recover from bushfires.
“If the NSW parks service had been unable to use 1080 to reduce fox numbers after last year's bushfires we would have seen even worse suffering among our native animals as recovering wallaby, bandicoot, bird, frog and lizard populations were hunted down by predatory foxes,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said.
“Our review on the use of 1080 in Australia shows that without an effective replacement the overall result of not using 1080 is greater suffering and declines in native species.”
However, Alpine Shire Councillor Charlie Vincent has called on her council to follow the Blue Mountains City Council’s lead.
“Beyond the indiscriminate cruelty of 1080 poison, there are other key reasons why it is banned in almost all other countries in the world,” she told the ABC.
“One key reason is that it has been proven time and time again to be exceedingly ineffective in reaching its target species.
“Even though dingoes are listed as a threatened species in Victoria under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee, ongoing fox baiting programs using 1080 poison in the Victorian High Country is continuing to cause the horrendous suffering and death of countless dingoes, and many other native wildlife species, many of which, the program is ironically, intended to protect.”
Parks Victoria says it only uses 1080 bait where necessary.
“Parks Victoria has a legal and moral obligation to remove feral animals from protected areas," Parks Victoria Manager Conservation Programs, Ben Fahey, told reporters.
“We use a range of control methods to protect and improve the health of the natural environment within our parks, one of which is 1080 bait products.
“All efforts are made to maintain human safety and to minimise the chance of impacts on non-target species during every feral animal control program.”