Paraquat ban welcomed

Picture: FILE

THE ban on paraquat has been welcomed by Nadi-based Animals Fiji where hundreds of animals poisoned by the chemical have been treated.

Animals Fiji co-founder and managing trustee Casey Quimby said they were pleased with the announcement by the Ministry of Agriculture to ban the substance from January, 2020.

“We are very pleased indeed,” she said.

“It is fantastic to finally feel like the veterinary and human medical industry is being heard and Government is listening.

“Animals Fiji has been advocating since our inception in 2011 to promote the banning of this extremely dangerous and harmful –– to humans, animals and the environment –– chemical.

“In January, 2017, after years of collecting data on paraquat deaths at our clinics throughout the Western and Northern divisions, we took the next step to engage the public to get the attention of Government through starting a petition on change.org.

“Ever since, it has obtained 11,481 signatures.” She said since beginning their operation in 2011, a common sight were animals poisoned by the chemical.

“In our eight years in operation and operating four permanent clinics with an additional 25 outreach clinics, we have seen hundreds of cases of paraquat in dogs and cats.

“It is horribly painful and can be an extremely slow death taking up to two weeks to die.

“We have had contact with human health professionals who see it firsthand in our emergency rooms and it is a chemical that does not discriminate.

“The half-life of paraquat is 20 years in the soil and we do not need that toxicity in our communities.

“Animals Fiji would like to commend the Minister for Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy and the Ministry of Agriculture team for taking this step forward to continue to make Fiji better for our future generations, human and animals alike.”

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