Governor Signs Rodenticide Ban to Protect Wildlife and Pets from Poisoning

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Source: Los Padres ForestWatch

[On Tuesday], Governor Newsom signed a bill that limits the use of certain rodenticides that linger in the food chain for weeks, killing not just the targeted rodent, but also their predators and scavengers. Thousands of central and southern California residents wrote to legislators and the governor, urging the bill’s passage. The law will help protect mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, owls, and other wildlife as they travel outside of protected areas like the Los Padres National Forest.

Introduced by Assemblymember Richard Bloom, AB 1788 strongly limits second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) throughout California. SGARs contain slow-acting chemicals that prevent blood from clotting. Over the several days it takes for the animal to die, it might eat additional SGARs, accumulating many times the lethal dose of the chemicals in its body. This poison is then carried up the food chain and can sicken or kill other animals.

Usually, mice and rats are rodenticide targets, but since the poisons are designed to be attractive, they might be eaten by birds, chipmunks, or even small children. As a poisoned animal dies, it becomes easy prey for predators who also may be killed or badly sickened. Predators might include threatened and endangered animals or family dogs and cats. The bodies of targeted or secondarily poisoned animals might then be eaten by scavengers, who can also fall victim.

“California’s wildlife is already stressed by wildfire and climate change,” said ForestWatch director of advocacy Rebecca August. “Adding the constant threat of lethal poisoning is unnecessary and imperils the very survival of mountain lions, condors, the San Joaquin kit fox and other threatened or endangered animals.”

Since 2014, SGARs have been banned from commercial sale in California but continued to be in legal use by licensed pest control companies. Between 2014 and 2018, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife found SGARs in 70-90% of wildlife tested. Biologists have documented anticoagulant rodenticide compounds in 26 out of 27 local mountain lions they tested, including a three-month-old kitten. Just this August, both a bobcat and mountain lion died from rodenticide poison in the Santa Monica mountains.

Assembly Bill 1788 does not ban SGARs--it makes exceptions for public health and other reasons--but it does strictly limit their use. The bill also mandates further study and the adoption of additional restrictions if limited use continues to harm non-target wildlife.

“When second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides are introduced into our environment, their spread or whom they kill cannot be controlled,” said August. “We are thrilled that the State of California is taking the lead in removing these insidious silent killers from our backyards and our backcountry.”

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biguglystick Oct 02, 2020 12:01 PM
Governor Signs Rodenticide Ban to Protect Wildlife and Pets from Poisoning

This is excellent news, and something I worked on, personally, as a campaigner against poison. It's only a moratorium, and not a ban, but still, a step in the right direction. Our native predators are excellent at rodent control, but if you need more info, please have a look into Poison Free Malibu's webpage... excellent source of info. Also bucket traps and electric traps work wonders! Thank you, Governor Newsom!

surfbum Oct 02, 2020 09:01 AM
Governor Signs Rodenticide Ban to Protect Wildlife and Pets from Poisoning

Rodent control has always been a touchy issue. Years ago I heard an oral history from a man whose father was enrolled in the WPA program during the Great Depression. The program, creating jobs for the unemployed during this financial crisis, developed the Woodrat Eradication Project in Ventura County. Scores of men were hired to go out in the back country and distribute poison. The California condor, which the man described as abundant as seagulls (maybe a slight overstretch) suddenly disappeared with a few years,

biguglystick Oct 02, 2020 12:04 PM
Governor Signs Rodenticide Ban to Protect Wildlife and Pets from Poisoning

Surfbum, you are 100% correct! And the poison goes all the way up the chain to the largest animals, mountain lions and even our pets! My best friend's dog died from secondhand rat poison from ingesting a poisoned rat in his own yard. Horrific way to go, very painful. Wild animals also get mange as a result of eating poisoned rodents, and if they don't die from the poison, they can die an even slower and more awful way, by mange. If anyone has questions about non-poison means of rodent control I can offer up a wealth of info. Google NON-POISON rat control too. What's good for our environment is good for US.

Curmudgeon Oct 01, 2020 01:45 PM
Governor Signs Rodenticide Ban to Protect Wildlife and Pets from Poisoning

As a respecter, observer and photographer of wildlife I largely applaud this action but now wonder about the law of unintended consequences. What other effective means can be used to eradicate the vermin, many of which carry disease. I think of farmers, ranchers, food processors, etc. who must contain the scourge. Years ago I can recall visiting the Burger King on State Street more than once and seeing dozens of rats scurrying about the dumpsters at the back of the parking lot. Let's hope that the state doesn't end up having to advertise for a "Pied Piper of Hamlin."

Bird Oct 01, 2020 03:06 PM
Governor Signs Rodenticide Ban to Protect Wildlife and Pets from Poisoning

I live on the eastside --- and the area is overrun with rats, even without dumpsters and food left out. I use electric traps; my neighbors use poison (I know because I've gotten dead and dying rats here.) Another neighbor's cat was poisoned. I know there are owls in the area, I hear them when walking my dog at night --- and they're the best hunters, but also easily poisoned. The restaurants are going to have to do it the old-fashioned way, set out traps, if they can't seal the waste in rat-proof containers.

PitMix Oct 01, 2020 01:42 PM
Governor Signs Rodenticide Ban to Protect Wildlife and Pets from Poisoning

Lots of exemptions, but better than current laws. From PCT website: "AB 1788 includes numerous exemptions including wineries, breweries, warehouses, factories, agricultural sites, medical facilities, and drug and medical equipment manufacturing facilities, etc. Reardon and others contend that with these exemptions, AB 1788 really does not protect wildlife from SGARs as the bill’s sponsors touted. “Guess what: Places that are exempt, like wineries, are directly adjacent to wildlife. The sponsors got what they wanted, but the fact of the matter is this bill does nothing to protect wildlife,” Reardon said."

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