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What is the RSPCA’s view on using 1080 for pest animal control?

RSPCA Australia recognises the need to control introduced species, such as the fox, to reduce both environmental and agricultural impacts. However, we argue that the control methods used should be as humane as possible. The available evidence on the effect of 1080 on affected species indicates that it is not a humane poison.

A review of Sherley 2007 reported that animals who suffer convulsions are not unconscious during or between convulsions so they are able to perceive pain and experience fear and distress [1]. Other signs observed include manic behaviour (including running into objects risking injury), vomiting, whimpering and muscle spasms. The welfare concerns associated with the use of 1080 in different species have also been identified by others [2, 3] and that it causes moderate to severe suffering [4].

The RSPCA has campaigned over many years for further research into alternatives to 1080 so that it can be phased out and replaced with more humane alternatives. In 2016, a new type of lethal bait containing para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) was approved for use for wild dog and fox control. It is currently available in several states, with other states expected to follow in the near future. In 2020, PAPP was also registered for feral cat control but it is not available to the general public with its use limited to authorised persons. PAPP causes haemoglobin levels in affected animals to drop dramatically, reducing the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, leading to lethargy and weakness followed by loss of consciousness and death. Detailed information on the use of PAPP for wild dog, fox and feral cat control can be found at the PestSmart website.

A more humane alternative toxin has also been developed for feral pigs. Sodium nitrite is contained in a new poison bait (HOGGONE®) which is registered to be used with special feed hoppers that are designed to be only activated by feral pigs. Baits containing sodium nitrite appear to be more humane than 1080 as the toxin acts faster to cause a quicker and less distressing death, but sodium nitrite still has the potential to cause some suffering.

Efforts should be made by government agencies, community landholder groups and pest control operators to use more humane alternatives to 1080 such as PAPP and sodium nitrite, wherever possible. However, while 1080 continues to be used, RSPCA Australia advocates that any baiting programs are carried out in accordance with the codes of practice (COPs) and standard operating procedures (SOPs) produced by the NSW Department of Primary Industries and funded by the Australian Government. You can read more about best practice management of different species at the links below.


[1] Sherley (2007) Is sodium fluoroacetate (1080) a humane poison? Animal Welfare 16:449–58.

[2] Eason et al (2010) Advancing a humane alternative to sodium fluoroacetate (1080) for wildlife management welfare and wallaby control. Wildlife Research 37:497-503.

[3] Invasive Species Council (2020) 1080: A weighty ethical dilemma. Invasive Species Council, Fairfield, Victoria Australia.

[4] Sharp T and Saunders G (2011) A model for assessing the relative humaneness of pest animal control methods (Second edition). Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Canberra, ACT.

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Updated on June 7, 2021
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