1080 (sodium fluoroacetate)

Where can I find information about the 1080 controversy?

Image: Possum by Geof Wilson on Flickr.

Entry last updated: 11/09/20

Introduction

1080 is a poison that has been used in New Zealand since the 1950s to control the populations of invasive species such as possums, rats, stoats, deer and rabbits. It is a controversial topic because while there is scientific evidence that supports the use of 1080, there are some people that are very firmly against it.

The science of 1080

1080, or sodium fluoroacetate, is the sodium salt form of a toxin that is found in poisonous plants from Western Australia, South America and South Africa.

Science Learning Hub

Science Learning Hub brings together a selection of science articles, activities and videos for intermediate and secondary students. If we scroll all the way to the bottom of the page we can see that it is run by Curious Minds, a New Zealand Government initiative, so the information will be well researched and reliable.

  • One way to find information about 1080 is to go to the Explore topics link at the top of the page.
  • From here, scroll down the page and look for the link to Toxins
  • On the Toxins page you should find articles such as The Chemistry of 1080.
  • There are lots of articles related to 1080 on this page so check them all out.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

1080 in New Zealand

1080 is an important tool for pest control in New Zealand. Many of our native birds are endangered species, and pests such as possums andrats kill them and destroy their native habitats. Using 1080 to manage the population of these invasive species is one way to help save our native birds, frogs and lizards.

Department of Conservation (DOC)

The Department of Conservation (DOC for short) is the government website about preserving the natural and historical sites of New Zealand, so it’s going to be a good place to get information about 1080.

  • Select the Nature tab at the top of the homepage.
  • Choose Pests and Threats.
  • Now choose the link to 1080.
  • Here you will find facts about the fake news hoax that went viral and the scientific studies that disprove the hoax.
  • There are also answers to frequently asked questions about 1080.
  • If you are interested in comparing 1080 to other methods of pest control, have a look at the page Our pest control methods as well.

Environmental Protection Authority

This is the government agency that is responsible for activities that affect New Zealand's environment, which includes the use of 1080 in conservation.

  • From the home screen, have a look down the side for the heading Safer home and then Animals and insects.
  • Then scroll down to the bottom to the link to their page on 1080.
  • Check this out for information about how the use of 1080 helps the farming industry and conversation in New Zealand, as well as links to annual reports.
Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

1080 is mentioned in several different stories, so the best way to find these is to:

  • search using the keyword '1080'
  • look through the results, and
  • you’ll find images and media as well as information eg TB and possum control.

To get some background about why we need pest control, have a look at the history of conservation in New Zealand.

  • From the homepage, select The Bush
  • Next choose the heading Conservation
  • Then Conservation - a history .
  • There is information about 1080 on page 6, Control of introduced animals, but all of the pages have good background information about conservation.
  • You could also look at the page Introduced animal pests for info about how introduced pests impact our native bush, and for more information about pests such as possums, rats, and stoats.

Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research

Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research is a Crown Research Institute. This is a great website to find research about land and biodiversity in New Zealand. There are lots of research articles that have been written about 1080, to find them:

  • try using '1080' as a keyword
  • narrow down your results by choosing different subjects along the left hand side, or
  • add extra keywords into your search.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Forest & Bird

Forest & Bird is New Zealand’s leading independent conservation organisation.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

1080 controversy

The following websites share different views regarding 1080. When it comes to controversial topics like this, it is important that you evaluate everything you read carefully. Look at the different information that appears on these sites and pay attention to where that information comes from.

Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre

This is one of the EPIC databases. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this. The Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre gives you full text access to newspapers, books, reports, journals and more. This is a good place to look to find news articles about people's reactions to 1080 as it includes editorial articles.

  • Try different combinations of keywords, such as 1080 debate or 1080 poison.
  • Use the filters down the side of the page to narrow down your results by date, subject, source and more.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)

The SPCA is an animal welfare charity organisation with centres all over New Zealand. To find out where they stand on the issue of 1080:

Tips: Some websites have .au, .nz, .uk or other codes in their url. This can tell you which country this website comes from eg .au is from Australia or .nz is from New Zealand. You can check the ‘ About Us ’ link on the website for more information.

Save Animals from Exploitation (SAFE)

SAFE is a registered charity for animal rights. Their aim is to end animal cruelty.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

1080 Facts

This is a project dedicated to helping the public understand the importance of controlling introduced animal pests. It's co-owned by the organisations Forest and Bird, and Federated Farmers, so includes viewpoints from conservation and agricultural sectors. If we scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, we can see the number of organisations that support 1080 Facts.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Books

Your school library or local public library may have books about 1080. Here are some books we found:

SCIS no: 1984916
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