I have to admit to being against the use of 1080. However, I’d like to mention that I’m vegan, so not really an advocate of hunting, or the pest-meat industry. Also I’m studying Ecology at Massey, so while I wouldn’t claim to be a scientific expert, I’m certainly not unfamiliar with the issues, or unconcerned about the survival of native species.

Anyway, I can’t help but notice that the Graf Brothers, creators of the anti-1080 documentary Poisoning Paradise, seem to attract some pretty strident critics. When the NZ Department of Conservation produced a critique of the documentary, it produced a rash of comments on the Graf’s website, and I couldn’t help but ask, who are these people trolling the comment thread? Are they useful idiots who really do care about native bush and its ecosystems but cannot grasp that dropping a broad-spectrum poison into that bush is ecocide? Are they provocateurs working for the chemical industry and aiming to:

* start arguments using patronising languge (eg “your movie is constructed on inuendo, fear and cherry picked sentences from 20 year old reports?”)

*distract the discussion onto tangents (eg the country of origin of scientist, or red herrings like creationism)

* claim to the moral high ground (eg you’re not like those of us who are committed to the ecology and conservation of Aotearoa… you’re a hand puppet to the hunting and pest-meat lobby)

One clue to look for is the same (or similar) lines being repeated by different posters, as if they were scripted, eg “please detail (or at least outline) what the issues are that you think are of such importance”. Sometimes these semi-scripted key messages will turn up on multiple fora, news sites etc. Some of these techniques are discussed in Nicky Hagar’s book the Hollow Men. I’m still interested in hearing scientific arguments that support the use of 1080 in our native bush, but this trolling does little to convince me that the pro-1080 discourse emerges from genuine and informed concern for native species.

Filed March 30th, 2013 under Uncategorized