Can we stop the lying about possums and Tb now please?

One of the reasons that we are told about why we need to carpet bomb our forests with 1080 is that we need to protect our dairy industry from Tb.

And it is a fair enough reason, if it is true. Surely we can’t risk dairy for some little Aussie imports who carry it?

And most of us would agree. But what if we are being lied to?

5862 (2015). Richard Prosser to the Minister for Primary Industries (18 May 2015): How many, if any, possums were dissected to look for Tb for each of the past ten years, and of these, how many were found to have Tb?

Hon Nathan Guy (Minister for Primary Industries ) replied: TBFree New Zealand (previously the Animal Health Board) have been carrying out necroscopy surveillance of possums and other wildlife since 2007. In the 2007/2008 year 4871 possums were surveyed with no Tb infections found, in 2008/2009 13,874 surveyed with 9 found, in 2009/2010 23,339 surveyed with 6 found, in 2010/2011 17576 surveyed with 1 found, in 2011/2012 25,103 surveyed with 9 found, in 2012/2013 18,682 surveyed with 12 found, in 2013/2014 10,930 surveyed with 17 found and in the 2014/2015 year 9,838 possums were surveyed with no infected possums found.

Take 2009 numbers…the only reasonable survey numbers for possum suggests that in 2009 there were 30 million possums. Extrapolate the survey figures and you around 7712 possums out of 30 million have Tb. In humans in New Zealand we had a tuberculosis rate of 7.0 per 100,000 in 2009, and it is a notifiable disease so in 2009 there were 671 cases of Tb.

Are we really saying that 7712 possums are threatening our entire dairy industry? With all the 1080 being carpet bombed in supposed Tb areas surely the number of possums is much less now, and surely from the figures given there is almost no Tb now in many areas.

Then we need to look at the survey methodology which may in fact be inflating the numbers. Because from what I have seen in presentations and from ESR sites it appears that surveys are conducted only where Tb is present, thereby inflating the statistics.

Of course the scientists should allow for that in their calculations…but given the vested interests and the need to keep selling sodium fluoroacetate (1080) in increasing quantities. The guys who have the sole production facility in NZ certainly want to keep on banking the tens of millions a year they get from pimping their poison.

The numbers don’t stack up…and at 0-0.2% incidence of Tb in possums it is about the same as in humans.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.