Pindone is Inhumane

rabbitThe assessment of what is and what is not a cruel or inhumane way to treat animals is a contentious issue. There are extreme views at either end of a spectrum of concern with animal liberationists at one end and defiant, animal abusers at the other end. Neither of these extremes has much support from the general Australian public. The institution with the most influence and established moral standing in Australia on matters relating to animal welfare is the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). It would be fair to say that the RSPCA represents Australia’s conscience when it comes to the ethical treatment of animals.

On its website the RSPCA has a page titled, “What is the most humane way to control rabbits”. Shooting and cage trapping are recommended as the most humane methods of control while 1080 is considered inhumane. In regard to pindone  the RSPCA is unequivocal in its criticism and says that it does not consider pindone “an acceptable control method as affected rabbits take several days to die”.

Humane control coverThe RSPCA goes on to say that people who want to learn about different rabbit control methods and their humaneness should read the Model Code of Practice for the Humane Control of Rabbits(pdf) and associated Standard Operating Procedures published by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI). The DPI is once again unequivocal in its assessment of pindone as an inhumane method of rabbit control:

After ingestion of pindone, rabbits initially show signs of depression/ lethargy and anorexia followed by manifestations of haemorrhage including anaemia, laboured breathing, pale mucous membranes and weakness. Bleeding may be visible around the nose, mouth, eyes and anus and rabbits eating pindone baitanimals may pass bloody faeces. Swollen tender joints are common as a result of bleeding into the confined joint space. Discomfort and pain from haemorrhages in internal organs, muscles and joints typically lasts for several days before death. The time to death is around 10 to 14 days after the initial dose. Because anticoagulant poisons take several days to kill, during which time they cause distress disability and/or pain, they are considered inhumane. (Sharp and Saunders 2004b)

The Model Code of Practice for the Humane Control of Rabbits(pdf) provides a table which rates 15 different methods of rabbit control for their humaneness. Only exclusion fencing and ground shooting are rated as unconditionally humane, although cage trapping is not rated in the table. For those who have heard stories about the cruelty of 1080, the DPI rates 1080 as “conditionally acceptable” whereas pindone is rated “inhumane compared to 1080” (Sharp and Saunders 2004b).