B.C.’s provincial government has announced that it is moving ahead with regulatory changes that will restrict the sale and use of some of the deadliest rodent poisons. As of January 21, 2023, second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) will be prohibited, with exemptions for sectors that have been deemed ‘essential services’.
The government’s decision follows a temporary, partial ban that has been in place since July 2021, along with a public consultation around proposed permanent changes. During this period, more than 2,500 British Columbians signed the Vancouver Humane Society’s petition in support of a comprehensive rodenticide ban. The VHS and more than 1,300 individuals participated in the public consultation; the VHS also submitted a report in support of a comprehensive rodenticide ban.
Despite widespread feedback in support of further restrictions and a full ban, the Province announced its decision to move forward with its initially proposed changes. Concerns remain that gaps in the regulations will continue to pose a risk to animals.
In addition to the exemptions that will allow SGARs to continue being used in many circumstances, many other dangerous poisons will still be allowed under the updated regulations, including first-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (FGARs) and neurotoxins. There are also concerns that enforcement is more difficult without consistent and comprehensive regulations.
Despite concerns, the decision to significantly restrict the use of SGARs is an important step in the right direction. The VHS and animal allies will continue to advocate for further action to protect animals from encountering these and other inhumane poisons.
The VHS recommends that the government’s partial ban be a starting point in a much-needed move away from deadly and inhumane rodent poisons and toward humane alternatives and preventative approaches for dealing with human-rodent conflicts.
A growing number of B.C. communities have gone above and beyond the partial ban. To date, more than 20 B.C. municipalities have banned rodenticides on municipal property, including Whistler, which recently adopted a policy to ban FGARs and SGARs.
1. Watch for signs of poisons.
Keep an eye out for bait boxes in and around your community, which indicate a rodent management program is in use. Note: Not every bait box contains rodenticides. Bait boxes can also contain snap traps. Look for a label that indicates the bait box’s contents.
2. Reach out to property owners or managers.
Reach out to the decision-maker in charge of the building and inquire about what rodent/”pest” control products are in use at the location.
If rodenticides (or other inhumane products like glue traps) are in use, offer to share more information and alternatives:
Rodenticides are highly toxic poisons that cause a slow and painful death for the rodents who consume them and can severely injure or kill any scavengers, predators or pets who encounter the poisoned rodents or the poisons directly. This includes anticoagulant poisons (including first-generation products) and other rodenticides, such as neurotoxins like Bromethalin. Effective and sustainable alternative solutions exist to address human-rodent conflicts, including high quality snap traps, captive bolt traps, and rodent contraceptives. The most effective long-term solutions include: - Exclusion techniques: rodent-proofing buildings and fixing structural flaws and access points; - Preventative measures: addressing attractants such as garbage, compost, fallen bird seed and fruit, leaky plumbing; - Habitat modification: making the environment around buildings less hospitable for rodents by cutting back bushes and grasses, storing items away from buildings and off of the ground.
Share contact information for humane rodent control companies (e.g. Humane Solutions) or encourage the decision-maker to speak with their current company about replacing rodenticides with humane alternative approaches.
Some examples of prohibited and non-prohibited locations include:
|Examples of prohibited locations||Examples of exempt locations|
|*SGARs are not allowed here |
– Residential buildings such as apartments
– Office buildings
– Non-food retail shops
|*SGARs can still be used by licensed “pest control” companies here |
– Supportive housing and shelters
– Agricultural operations
– Grocery stores
– Landfills and recycling facilities
See page 12 of this PDF for the full list of exempt locations where SGARs are allowed to continue being used. If a SGAR is being used at a location not on the list, it is not in compliance with the ban. Watch the video below for tips on documenting and reporting prohibited rodenticides.