On December 24, 1996, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed
their decision to approve the controversial poison "Compound 1080" Livestock
protection collar (LPC) in the federal registry. Compound 1080 (sodium
fluoroacetate) is classified as a highly toxic super poison for which there is
no antidote. Currently the federal Animal Damage Control (ADC)
program and the sheep industry are pressuring the Oregon Department of
Agriculture to permit the use of the LPC as a method of predator control against
coyotes. The LPC is highly toxic, inhumane, environmentally risky, and
hazardous to both humans and non-target wildlife. Non-lethal predator
control methods are proven and available.
There is another detailed study on Possum control measures in New Zealand
which questionnaired the public on what methods they would prefer to see used.
It concludes that poisoning with 1080 is not acceptable as a method of
controlling a 'pest' species, although most people would accept poisoning if it
could be specific to the species in question. The following is paragraph is from
the conclusions of the report which can be found at http://www.maf.govt.nz/MAFnet/articles-man/posat/httoc.htm
There is evidence that science-based data is not readily accepted in New
Zealand (see Couchman & Fink Jensen, 1990), and the recent public debate on
1080 shows that despite scientific evidence that 1080 is a safe poison, public
acceptance of the use of 1080 decreased during the debate.
This is the position statement of the Animal Protection Unit in Canada from
their web site at http://www.api4animals.org/IssuesAndAdvocacyCampaigns/Wildlife/LPCPosition.htm
Most interestingly, it notes that 'California voters banned the use of
Compound 1080 by a 15% margin on November 3, 1998, by passing Proposition 4 on
the state ballot. Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon announced his intent to
prohibit the use of Compound 1080 livestock collars in the state in June of 1998
and registration was pulled by the USDA in November, 1998.'
Compound 1080 was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
in 1972 because of its deadly threat to non-target species, and its history of
misuse and abuse. Only in 1985, through intense lobbying from the livestock
industry and the USDA's Animal Damage Control (ADC) agency, was 1080 re-approved
for use in livestock protection collars. The toxicity of Compound 1080 presents
a threat to non-target species, including endangered and threatened species,
scavengers feeding on contaminated carcasses, humans and companion animals. The
proposed mitigation measures are not adequate to reduce the serious dangers
posed by the use of these poison collars.
The ADC (recently renamed "Wildlife Services") states, "Compound 1080
is highly toxic to warm-blooded animals, including man, when taken internally
... one LP collar contains approximately 2 to 6 lethal doses for a 150-pound man
…Compound 1080 is hazardous to domestic animals including livestock and pets.
Dogs are particularly susceptible. As little as 0.1 ml of a LP collar's contents
may be fatal to a 25-pound dog. Dogs could be poisoned by scavenging the
carcasses of collared livestock" (Technical Bulletin, page 2, 1993).
Compound 1080 is a highly toxic, slow-acting poison with no
antidote that causes a prolonged and painful death to its victims. It
takes up to ten hours for a coyote to die after ingesting the poison. Death
follows intense convulsions and most often results from cellular breakdown,
progressive depression of the central nervous system and/or cardiac arrest.
Recovery of the poisoned coyotes killed by the collars is rare. The ADC
freely admits "only about 10% of the attacking coyotes are recovered after they
die"; their carcasses may then become a secondary hazard to other scavenging
wildlife. In addition, a significant percentage of collars are punctured by
vegetation or barbed wire, and end up designated as "missing" or empty with
"contents leaked" into the environment.
There is insufficient monitoring and record-keeping of LPCs. States
such as Texas, which have been authorized to use LPCs, have been found to keep
inconsistent and contradictory records of LPC use within the state. The Texas
Center for Policy Studies found that in 1994 the Texas Department of Agriculture
inspected only 50% of LPC users and failed to make required inspections during
the previous four years. EPA reports indicate that in states where the
toxic collars are currently used more than twice as many
collars have been lost and damaged than were punctured by coyotes.
The ADC program already has a large arsenal of lethal weapons at its
disposal to use against coyotes and other predators. Adding yet another weapon
is unnecessary and exposes the public, companion animals and wildlife to added
danger. Instead of promoting the use of a highly toxic poison for predator
control, the ADC should encourage ranchers to manage their herds better. Sheep
ranchers have a number of non-lethal, effective methods of predation reduction
such as the use of guarding animals, improved fencing, shed-lambing and
The use of Compound 1080 and other lethal methods of coyote control are
ineffective in the long term. Research from Montana (R. Crabtree and M. Madson)
shows that disruption of coyote populations by predator control can lead to
increases in the number of coyotes in an area. After coyote populations are
disturbed by devices such as LPCs, coyote litter sizes often increase, pack
territories may become smaller, and a greater number of coyotes often occupy a
I'm afraid that all the information is quite negative and it looks like the
decision to apply the poison should be made very carefully. I am assumign of
course that there isn't already legislation in place to control its use on
Australia. If there is not, there is an enormous amount of public
opposition to its use in other countries. Just briefly looking at the
information above, the decision to ban / control its use seem to be based on
quite a bit of research.
I have also checked with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds -
species protection unit but they haven't heard of the poision. We don't have
many large carnivores to control in the UK, which no doubt explains why it isn't
Hope this helps,