Wildlife and conservation organizations are taking up the battle to get super-toxic rat poisons out of New York over concerns about the dangers they pose to wildlife, pets and people.
The Center for Biological Diversity, American Bird Conservancy, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Earthjustice, New York City Audubon and Raptors Are The Solution have filed a legal petition with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation seeking to ban second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) in the state.
A major problem with these poisons, aside from their inherent cruelty, is that they don’t always kill their victims quickly. Rodents who eat poisoned bait can stay alive for days and continue to consume more. After the poison accumulates in their system, they become a highly toxic meal to predators and scavengers.
“These poisons have become the indiscriminate killers for hawks, eagles and other beloved raptors in New York and around the nation,” said Cynthia Palmer, director of pesticides science and regulation for American Bird Conservancy. “We are asking New York to lead the way in the use of safe and effective rodent-control alternatives.”
In 2012, their effects became more well known after Pale Male, a beloved red-tailed hawk living in Central Park lost his mate, Lima, to these poisons. Sadly, her death wasn’t even close to being an isolated incident.
According to the petition, SGARs have resulted in the deaths of at least 31 different wildlife species from over 225 lethal incidents in New York. Unfortunately, target and non-target animals aren’t the only ones suffering from the effects of these poisons either. Our companion animals have also been involved and so have we.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, “over a 10-year period, rodenticides caused, on average, more than 160 severe poisonings of pet cats and dogs annually. Each year up to 10,000 children are accidentally exposed to rat poison in their homes, according to data released by the EPA.”
In New York City alone, approximately 4,250 rodenticide poisoning incidents occurred from 2000‐2010, with 79 percent of rodenticide poisonings occurring in children under six years of age.
The groups note that even though there have been some successes that include an announcement that the makers of d-CON will stop producing a few of its super-toxic rat poisons and pull products from store shelves next year, in addition to a ban that was successfully passed in California, these poisons are still available to agricultural users and licensed pest-control operators.
“There is no reason to leave the worst of the worst poisons on the market,” said Jonathan Evans, toxics and endangered species campaign director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There are safe, cost-effective options on the shelves today that don’t indiscriminately kill wildlife and poison families.”
Supporters of the ban are urging people to turn to safer alternatives that include rodent-proofing homes and removing food sources to discourage pests, encouraging the presence of raptors and using humane traps.
Please sign and share the petition urging the DEC to step up and protect wildlife, pets and people by banning these indiscriminate killers.
For more information on alternatives to the use of these dangerous poisons control “pests,” visit SafeRodentControl.org.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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