Bird poisoning at Dunedin supermarket 'cruel and distressing'

A Dunedin woman who saw a sparrow plummet to the floor in Pak’n Save and begin to die a prolonged death says she was horrified to learn the supermarket poisoned birds.

Pak’n Save owner Foodstuffs NZ defended the practice as necessary to prevent the spread of disease, but said it was looking into alternatives.

The woman, who requested anonymity, said she was shopping in the South Dunedin supermarket on Friday when she saw the sparrow fall from the air and land with a thud on the ground.

"I went up and it was obviously dying in one of the aisles."

She scooped up the young bird before taking it to the customer service desk.

"I asked the lady there, ‘Are you poisoning your birds?"’

The staff member was not aware of the practice, but after making a phone call to a superior she confirmed the store had laid poison.

The woman made her objections clear as the bird continued to languish.

"I said to her, ‘That’s not on, it’s cruel and distressing to see’.

"And she said, ‘Yeah, it upsets me as well’."

Leaving her shopping in the store, and by this point distraught and crying, the woman took the ailing bird to a nearby vet to be euthanised.

"I just wanted it to be assisted to pass on as quickly as possible.

"I was very upset ... distraught and crying on the street.

"It’s just sad to see an animal suffer."

A self-described animal-lover, the woman suggested the store should invest in traps in which birds can be caught before being set free.

Foodstuffs NZ spokeswoman Antoinette Laird said birds loose in supermarkets could spread disease via droppings, "hence the need to remove them".

Asked why traps were not used instead of poison, Ms Laird cited health and safety.

"While our stores endeavour to use the quickest and most humane solutions available for pest control, we also have to look out for the safety of our team.

"Traps in lofty ceiling spots are potentially difficult and dangerous to manage."

However, Ms Laird said the Hillside Rd store had advised it was "looking into alternatives."

She would not be drawn on the type of poison employed. 


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So the supermarket chain that's got rid of plastic bags to protect fish is at the same time using poison to kill birds. Interesting...

I think it's Countdown that's banned the bags

"Asked why traps were not used instead of poison, Ms Laird cited health and safety".
How is it 'healthy' to have poisoned birds lying about the shop?.

New Zealanders are taught from an early age to grade the value of life. Anything that is a threat to native wildlife or humans way of life is considered a pest and therefore worthless. However it still comes as a shock to some people when they discover that animals such as sparrows, hedgehogs and domestic cats are also considered a pest by some. As for the methods of killing, for most people it is easier to just to turn a blind eye to cruelty. I applaud this person for valuing this poor birds life and not turning a blind eye to it's suffering.

If health and Safety precludes setting humane traps then how does Health and Safety allow for poisening? Where was that laid? I think this is not good enough at all.

Remember why humans can get very ill from bird droppings. that's why they do it/

Commendable that the woman deplores animal cruelty, but hold on--are the sparrows introduced European sparrows? If so, be advised they are directly responsible for the downswing of swallows here on Vancouver Island, BC, and could well be responsible for killing NZ native birds too; sparrows are killers, and many native bird lovers in N. America kill them whenever possible.


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