PRESS RELEASE: Negligence Leads to Spate of Livestock Deaths

Published by Alex Vince on


PRESS RELEASE: Spate of livestock deaths caused by negligence and an indiscriminate poison


Wednesday, March 10: 1080 poison has claimed the lives of over sixty sheep in South Australia who discovered an improperly stored and unattended barrel of baits on a property in the Limestone Coast region. After knocking the barrel over and consuming its contents, the sheep suffered a death Australian animal welfare agencies have condemned as cruel and inhumane. 

South Australian authorities have attended a property north of Bordertown following reports of non-target livestock deaths to the notorious poison commonly referred to as 1080. It is unclear whether the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has initiated an investigation or commenced proceedings against the landholder, whose negligent storing of a restricted chemical constitutes an offense under state law.

Despite assurances that there are rigorous, stringent and enforceable regulations all 1080 baiting programs are obliged to adhere to, there are significant and distressing flaws in the framework that allow tragedies like this to occur. Australia is one of the last remaining countries on Earth that permits 1080 poison past its borders, let alone allows it to be kept in substantial quantities on private property. These deaths are a wake-up call the government must not ignore.

– Alex Vince, campaign director

The incident has revealed serious weaknesses in the policing and control of dangerous substances in Australia. As a poison in the same class as other notorious chemicals like arsenic and cyanide, 1080 is included on a short list of substances the government considers a threat to national security. Other nations and their security agencies, including the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, continue to study its potential use as a weapon of mass destruction.

Approximately 40,000 chemicals are approved for use in Australia. Of those 40,000 chemicals, 96 are identified as being chemicals of security concern because of their potential to be used by terrorists to make bombs or toxic weapons.

– Australian Government Department of Home Affairs

1080 poison has been used across Australia for over six decades to kill a range of unwanted animals, including predators, herbivores and even native wildlife. As a lethal compound which kills most aerobic organisms, it can leave a trail of collateral deaths in its wake. Due to its undetectable nature as odourless and tasteless, it has been identified as a potential wartime poison.

“If a herd of sheep can locate, scatter, consume and succumb to a substance the Federal Government includes in a short list of chemicals it thinks could be used by terrorists to wage toxic warfare, it reveals a terrifying hole in regulation that an animal with no hands could access a barrel-full of it on private property. If the government is concerned enough about 1080 to include it in its register of chemicals of national security concern, it should be so tightly regulated that tragedies like these never occur at all”.

The Coalition has contacted the Department for comment on any actions taken against the negligent landholder. We are awaiting a response.


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