Pet food maker pleads for more pests
By Christine Allen - Northern Advocate
Dec 16, 2015
There's only one person in Northland who feels there are not enough possums in the region. The boss of a new pet food processing plant says he is experiencing a shortage of poison-free possums and about 40 hunters to meet the demand for the Whangarei dog and cat food, Christine Allen writes.
Grant Montgomery opened Possum Man Petfoods three months ago and already employs 40 hunters to kill 1500 possums throughout Northland each week.
The plant, on Herekino and Reyburn St, is a licensed, primary processing plant which also uses the carcasses of 500 rabbits, 500 hares and 10 wild goats each week, as well as 250 wild Timaru wallabies a month, to produce a range of pet food, frozen into blocks and sold on site.
NOTE: It is NEVER SAFE TO EAT ANIMALS FROM 1080 DROP ZONES
Possum on menu in the Far North
The following misleading article would suggest that while possums are good to eat, and there has been no cases of TB in Northland possums, ridiculously it claims 1080 poisoned possums are safe to eat "
"Possum skinning expert Carl Cooper says you can tell if a possum has tuberculosis because the glands in their groin and underarm swell into large abscesses."
"It's never been found in Northland in feral possums.
"[The gland] would be just a straight white line, but if there's an infection they'd blow up into something as big as a golf ball."
Cooper says 1080 passes straight through the system and cyanide doesn't leave the gut so they're not as dangerous as other poisons like Pestoff that accumulate in the possum's system.
The best way to kill the possum is to shoot or trap it so it doesn't ingest poison unnecessarily, he says.
The New Zealand possum fur industry
currently generates retail sales of possum-related garments of between $100 and $150 million per year, with international tourists accounting for 85 percent of total retail sales. The industry employs about 1,500 workers. It also contributes to the conservation of natural flora and fauna through the reduction of approximately two million possums per year. Forecasted expansion in the possum fur industry will add $58.5 million and 760 jobs to the New Zealand economy each year. NZIER Economic Impact of Possum Industry 2014
The species that are being eradicated in New Zealand were mostly brought here for an economic use. While blanket poisoning the countryside by helicopter is non species specific, it also renders these animals useless for any economic purpose. These creatures have value and offer employment solutions and by using them as a free range resource, the animal lives it's life in the wild and is harvested as humanely as possible, generating a premium export product.
NZ Venison Exports
The large scale commercial farming of deer started in New Zealand, and New Zealand remains the world's largest and most advanced deer farming industry.
Deer are not native to New Zealand. The first deer were brought to New Zealand from England and Scotland for sport in the mid-late 19th century, and released mainly in the Southern Alps and foothills. The environment proved ideal and wild populations grew uncontrolled. By the middle of the 20th century wild deer were regarded as a pest because of their impact on the environment and native forests.
The export of venison from wild deer started in the 1960s, turning a pest into an export earner. Industry pioneers saw an opportunity to build on this base and in the early 1970s started capturing live deer from the wild and farming them. A new industry was born and rapidly spread throughout New Zealand.
- See more at: http://www.deernz.org/about-deer-industry/deer-industry/beginning#.VqKsb5N95Bw
Deer Recovery Under Threat
"It is understood some helicopter operators have been told it would cost DOC about $500,000 a year on deer control in the Fiordland National Park if the helicopter operators stopped.
"DOC is getting their conservation work done for free," one helicopter operator said.
"There's a huge cost to DOC without the operators doing it."
Operators said DOC's 1080 aerial poisoning programme was also killing deer and locking helicopter operators out of large hunting areas." Read More