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Poison to the Beasts: Changing Poisons and Poisoning Practices in Campaigns to Kill Norwegian Birds and Mammals, 1845-1967

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Between 1845 and 1967 deadly poison was often used to kill and eradicate unwanted wild animals in the Norwegian fauna. The major targets of these poison practices were rats, predators and crows. This article presents the main types of poisons used, the main methods of poison administration and the legislation covering the poisoning-practices in regards to the various species, as well as negotiations over the killing methods and wildlife eradication programmes. Examining the changing social and political organisation of these eradication campaigns brings new insights into the cultural history of poison, into the cultural relations between man and nature and into changing human ideas of safety and danger. We suggest that practices of intentional killing by poisoning of larger animals impinged upon attitudes towards direct or indirect poisoning of insects and concern over toxic risks.

Keywords: Environmental poison; Norway; Strychnine; arsenic; corvids; eradication; phosphor; poison; poison bait hunting; predators; rats; toxic; wildlife

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2019

This article was made available online on June 13, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Poison to the Beasts: Changing Poisons and Poisoning Practices in Campaigns to Kill Norwegian Birds and Mammals, 1845–1967".

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  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2020) of 0.714. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.735.
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