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What is the current regulatory status of the vertebrate poison 1080?

10 November 2011

Sodium fluoroacetate (1080) is a vertebrate poison used for the control of feral animals including rabbits, foxes, wild dogs, pigs, and in limited situations, native animals. Its use in controlling feral animals plays an important role in the protection of Australian native animal species. The chemical is tightly controlled and only specially trained people are able to use it.

The APVMA formally reviewed the registration of 1080 in 2008 because of concerns that non-target animals might be poisoned. The label instructions in use at that time, for example, did not specify the amount of baits that could be aerially applied for wild dog control. The APVMA also wanted to ensure that safety instructions and warnings on labels were adequate.

One outcome of the review was to set the number of baits that could be aerially applied for dog control to ten per linear kilometre. This number was based on research suggesting that this number led to effective control of wild dogs and protection of native species in other parts of Australia. Another outcome was to update product labels to improve safety.

Following the review, farmer groups in NSW argued that ten baits per kilometre would be ineffective in controlling wild dogs in their areas. They indicated that a higher rate of 40 baits per linear kilometre was required and proposed research to investigate whether the higher rate was both necessary and safe for non-target native wildlife. The APVMA agreed to support this research and issued a permit (Permit 12088) valid in a third of the fourteen Livestock Health and Pest Authority districts in New South Wales to allow it to happen. This permit is time-limited and subject to a range of conditions including the requirement to obtain relevant state approvals and a commitment to provide the APVMA with the research findings.

Should this research demonstrate that higher application rates are necessary and do not lead to unacceptable rates of non-target animal death, the APVMA may authorise higher rates in those specific bioregions where the research has been undertaken.

The APVMA is willing to engage with rural bodies in other states prepared to undertake research to determine safe rates for their bioregions.

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Last updated on 10 November, 2011