Elana Pisani, exclusive to Global Animal

These small poison pellets are easy for dogs, cats, and children to mistake for food. Photo Credit: morrisvetcenter.com
These small, poison pellets are easy for dogs, cats, and children to mistake for food. Photo Credit: morrisvetcenter.com

California may be pulling the plug on “super” rat poisons.Proposed regulation action, DPR 13-002, would ban the widespread use of dangerously strong anticoagulant rodent poisons. 

The ban would designate brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, and difethialone as restricted materials, limiting them to those who are licensed and have training to use them appropriately. If the action passes, the poisons will no longer be available to the public. Homeowners are currently the number one users of these rodenticides, often misusing them and negatively affecting local wildlife and pets. 

One of the key proponents of the rodenticides regulation is Jennifer Fearing, the California State Director of the Humane Society of the United States. 

  “The pervasiveness of rat poisons in urban, suburban, rural and forested areas across California is alarming. Access to the most potent poisons must be significantly reduced to protect people, dogs and wildlife,” Fearing said. 

The problem with these poisons exists not only in their purpose to kill rodents, but in the accidental deaths involved with their use as well.

The rodenticides are responsible for numerous wildlife and pet casualties. Not only do other animals mistakenly eat the toxic traps, but the predators that rely on rodents for food are also poisoned when they ingest tainted meat.

Both wild mammals and bird populations are at risk, and the long list of reported poisonings includes bobcats, the endangered San Joaquin kit fox, spotted owls, and even dogs. Family pets and small children are at risk of consuming the poison and many homeowners who use the product are completely unaware of these risks before they put them to use. Therefore, the regulation will also require licensed applicators to inform the homeowner of the dangers of the poisons before proceeding.

The endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox is on the list of animals killed by rodenticides. Photo Credit: WildlifeHeritage.org
The endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox is on the list of animals poisoned by rodenticides. Photo Credit: WildlifeHeritage.org
California currently lacks a proper system for reporting pet poisonings and wildlife poisonings are often unknown to the public. Still, there have been hundreds of reports in recent years of pet and wildlife poisonings from rodenticides and there are most likely many more unreported incidents. 

“Reported and documented cases of non-target poisoning represent the tip of the iceberg,” according to Fearing. 

The proposal also requires limitations on above-ground use to within 50 ft of a structure such as a home, further protecting wildlife and neighboring pets. It is also the area around a structure that is most effective to target, making use of the harmful toxins outside of this range unnecessary.

Northern Spotted Owl tested positive for rodenticides in its blood.  Photo Credit: JoLynn Taylor
This Northern Spotted Owl tested positive for rodenticides in its blood. Photo Credit: JoLynn Taylor

Finally, the regulation requires that the poisons will be used as a last resort measure, only after non-poison methods have failed. Non-poison alternatives include sealing cracks and holes where rodents gain entry, keeping the area clean with trash enclosed within wildlife-proof containers, and live-trapping rodents for release. Taking these measures ensures that all animal life is protected, including the rodents. 

Show your support for banning these toxic poisons. Sign the Humane Society’s petition and/or sign the petition at Care2 today!

 

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