Anti-1080 activists choose belief over facts - environmentalist

News 09/01/2019
Photo: Getty.

An environmentalist argues that opposing 1080 for pest control fuels a dangerous narrative for New Zealand's wildlife.

Dave Hansford, an environmentalist writer, argues that many anti-1080 campaigners take a blind stance to the issue by supporting their belief over facts.   

"If you choose to believe rather than to think than you have to protect those beliefs in the face of an awful lot of contradictory evidence," Mr Hansford told RadioLIVE.

On Tuesday, SPCA sparked controversy when it declared that 1080 should be banned because it causes animals to suffer. Forest & Bird rebutted, stating that some 25 million native birds, eggs and chicks are eaten by predators every year.

While Mr Hansford accepts SPCA's argument for animal welfare, he reckons all too many activists  have to deny science-based evidence to support their beliefs.

"There is simply no other way other than to deny the science that is actually contradicting them," Mr Hansford said.

He cites that the Department of Conservation is finally getting data that proves how 1080 aerial drops have helped native birds recuperate.  

"[The facts] can't be disputed," he said.

Alan Gurden says possums have been "demonised" as pests.

Earlier on Wednesday, anti-1080 protester Alan Gurden suggested that possums are "demonised" to been seen as a threat, arguing that no one has actually seen a possum threaten a native bird.

If 25 million native birds and eggs are indeed eaten by predators each year, Mr Gurden argues that Department of Conservation should have more photographic evidence of possums in action.

But Mr Hansford says such narratives are fueled by social media, and maintains that public policy cannot be based on "outrage and fantasy fiction".