There’s been a lot of media coverage regarding the rat bait drop on Lehua Island, and with good reason. Anything controversial that stirs up fears and emotions makes for good news.
Personally I don’t lean one way or the other regarding this issue for the mere fact that I am not one to jump on any bandwagon and let my emotions overrule me. I reserve judgment until diligent research is present, to prevent me from looking like a fool because I’ve been down that road one too many times.
To me, that is the wisest approach. I’m not an expert on the matter and, quite frankly, neither are most people. I can only base my thoughts on the information at hand, which may sway me to one side or the other.
I think that the “big picture” is what a lot of people are missing. When you hear the word “poison” it automatically sets off red flags, especially for people who live in the islands so close to nature with limited resources that many still rely on for sustenance.
As a thought, a lot of over-the-counter medications are harmless to humans when used in the amount and manner they were designed for. People die as a result of chronic or acute overdose, yet millions use aspirin everyday.
For some as an anticoagulant, a blood thinner works in a similar manner to diphacinone, the active ingredient in the rat bait used. However, just one tablet of extra strength aspirin is toxic enough to kill a cat. For humans, you may need more than that to get rid of your headache.
The greatest fuel for fear and suspicion is a lack of education on any given subject. A lot of people get alarmed over things that they suspect can harm them yet never take the time to see the studies.
For some, even if they see the studies or results of past usage, they still refuse to accept it just because to them it doesn’t “feel” right. Getting educated on any subject can alleviate most fears and open up a whole different perspective on things.
Bottom line is that whenever a species is threatened there needs to be a solution to save, protect and preserve, and a lot of times the only viable solution may not be palatable but it also may be the only choice available to achieve an end result with minimal ramifications.
The pros have to outweigh the cons and unless anyone can come up with a reasonable alternative, the decision must be made before there is nothing left to save. Unfortunately most of our woes today come from man’s doing and it is our responsibility resolve the issues that we have caused. It is not only our responsibility but it is our duty.
Studies have found that the active ingredient contained in the rat bait is slightly or moderately toxic to fish but it also rapidly decomposes in water and sunlight.
This still brings us back to what my thoughts are, that sometimes, the pros of an action must outweigh the cons, but everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I can agree that the eradication of rats needed to be done and I will always have my reservations about it.
The way it was dispersed may have been the most cost-effective and expedient way to go. Whether you agree with it or not, it’s done and now all we can do is wait to see if people’s fears of adverse effects were imagined or realized.
Dom Acain is a resident of Kekaha.