Policy: Use of toxins to control pests

GAC position on the use of vertebrate toxic agents to control animal pests in New Zealand

  1. Advocates for the general policy of reducing the use of toxins in our environment.
  2. Acknowledges the current need to use toxins to control some animal pest species to protect both the environment and economic values.
  3. Maintains that there is currently no justification to use toxins for the control of game animals in New Zealand and opposes such use.
  4. Recognises the broad risk to New Zealand’s reputation across multiple areas, including food safety, tourism and the social license to continue using what are important pest control tools if use of toxins is not well managed.
  5. Strongly advocates for a strategic approach nationally on the use of toxins, which provides guidance on such matters as: consultation, science, mitigation, animal welfare, residue safety, market and tourism perceptions, consistency of application, alternative options and adoption of best practice across New Zealand.
  6. Advocates for the allocation of sufficient resources to find alternatives to the use of toxins in the environment.
  7. Maintains that, prior to the application of toxins, a consultation process should be completed that:
    • Meets accepted principles and standards for consultation;
    • Is transparent, and all available information is provided;
    • Allows affected parties to identify potential mitigation measures;
    • Is consistent nationally throughout all agencies.
  8. Maintains that each application of toxins should:
    • Be based on clear evidence-based rationale that the control method is suitable and necessary to achieve clearly described and agreed outcomes;
    • Be designed for the target species(s), and minimise the by-kill of game animals and other non-target species;
    • Appropriate mitigation methods such as deer repellent are used in all locations where game animal and hunting values are important;
    • Ensure humane standards in the killing of target species;
    • Ensure that there is no possibility of residues entering the food production system or entering recreationally harvested game meat;
    • Minimises adverse effects on the environment.