Our work Animals in Aotearoa Animals labelled as ‘pests’

Animals labelled as ‘pests’

1080 Poison

There’s controversy in paradise. New Zealand is proud of its clean, green and pure image. However the use of 1080 poisoning as the main weapon in the war against animals regarded as introduced species is controversial.

“Aerial application of 1080 poison is banned in the U.S. due to the extreme hazard to human health and to the environment.”

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

A cruel and indiscriminate poison, 1080 is used to kill unwanted animals which include possums, feral cats, rabbits, rats and stoats. Its use in New Zealand has been a contentious issue since it was first employed as a pesticide in 1954. Research has shown that the use of this poison is extremely cruel, and dangerous to non-target animals.



Uncover the Facts

About 1080 poison

1080 is the brand name given to the synthetic version of sodium fluoroacetate - a toxic, odourless, white powder compound, which naturally occurs in plants, acting as a powerful defence.

1080 targets

The Australian Brushtail Possum was first released into New Zealand in 1837 with the sole purpose of establishing a fur trade. They were initially protected to allow numbers to increase. Many human pressures on the environment are more damaging than introduced animals but are not recognised as key threats.

Take Action

The issue of 1080 often comes up in media reports. Write a letter in response to your local paper outlining the animal welfare concerns.

Quick Facts

  • New Zealand uses over 80% of the world production of 1080.
  • 1080 is banned in many countries.
  • 1080 is used to target introduced species such as cats, rats, stoats and possums in NZ.
  • Estimates put the number of possums at anywhere between 30-70 million in NZ, but there is no definitive figure.
  • Possums were introduced to NZ in 1837 to create a fur trade.
  • New Zealand spends over $80 million on possum control every year.
  • Death by 1080 is cruel and protracted and poisoned animals can take hours or even days to die.
Eat with kindness

Try the Plant-Based Challenge

Eating a plant-based diet is the most important thing you can do to help animals. It's a simple switch, but it makes a big difference. You'll feel great knowing that you are putting your values into action. Challenge yourself to give it a try. We bet you’ll find it tastier and easier than you ever imagined!

Donate today

Help us continue helping animals in need.

As a charity, SAFE is reliant on the support of caring people like you to carry out our valuable work. Every dollar goes towards providing education, undertaking research and campaigning for the benefit of all animals.