The following three reports are from the contract ‘Native non-target sensitivity testing and humaneness testing of a new feral pig toxicant’. The contract required:
- an assessment of the sensitivity of key native non-target species (species that have previously consumed PIGOUT® baits) to HOG-GONETM or a sodium nitrite concentrate, and
- to conduct an independent humaneness assessment of the active.
There is Australian and worldwide demand for improvements in vertebrate pesticides. 1080 use has been curtailed internationally and remains under pressure as it is considered inhumane by the RSPCA. There is an opportunity, and a challenge, to develop new vertebrate pesticides which are a quantum leap ahead in terms of humaneness and improved target specificity.
This report provides some ideas for enhancing the toxicity of sodium nitrite to help optimize the potential of sodium nitrite as a vertebrate pesticide. It also outlines some key areas of collaborative research, which could be undertaken immediately to help optimize the potential of sodium nitrite as a vertebrate pesticide.
- Assessing the humaneness and efficacy of a new feral pig bait in domestic pigs (PDF - 78 KB) | (Word - 1409 KB)
The scientific aim of this project was to assess the humaneness of sodium nitrite toxicosis for the lethal control of feral pigs. Pigs are particularly sensitive to methaemoglobin-forming compounds, of which sodium nitrite is perhaps the most commonly available. Therefore, baits containing sodium nitrite were fed to domesticated pigs, and the humaneness, progress of symptoms and physiology of death were assessed in a controlled environment.
The findings of this study reveal that the nitrite containing toxic baits fed to the pigs in this study were effective, with a 100 per cent mortality rate recorded. In the opinion of the authors, the symptoms leading to death and duration of display of these symptoms would suggest that sodium nitrite satisfies a general understanding of what a humane poison would be.
Pharmacokinetics and methaemoglobin reductase activity as determinants of species, susceptibility and non-target risks from sodium nitrite manufactured feral pig baits
- Pharmacokinetics and methaemoglobin reductase activity as determinants of species, susceptibility and non-target risks from sodium nitrite manufactured feral pig baits (PDF - 120 KB) | (RTF - 1662 KB)
Vertebrate pesticides are used in Australia to manage populations of invasive pest species, including feral pigs, which threaten native ecosystems, damage crops and spread disease.
Feral pigs are currently poisoned using actives that are considered by some to be inhumane and more suitable agents are being sought. Pigs are susceptible to methaemoglobin forming compounds, due to innately low levels of methaemoglobin reductase, and research has identified that sodium nitrite is a promising humane alternative active.
To attain registration, a new vertebrate pesticide must, however, be species-specific in its toxicity (rare), or be presented in such a manner to demonstrate that it is safe for use around non-target species. Furthermore, it should be shown to represent a low risk of bioaccumulation and secondary poisoning, as is the case with sodium nitrite which has a half-life of one hour or less in those species tested.
This study presents a risk analysis for the use of sodium nitrite used in manufactured feral pig baits.