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Support a full ban on rodenticides in B.C.

B.C. bans some rodenticides, but more action is needed to protect animals

Effective July 21, 2021, the B.C. government enacted an 18-month ban on second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs), citing the serious risk they pose to the public, pets and wildlife. This means SGARs cannot be used in or around most residential buildings, offices, parks, schools, or non-food retail shops.

These highly toxic rodent poisons cause a slow and painful death for the rodents that consume them and can severely injure or kill any scavengers, predators or pets who encounter the poisoned rodents. In fact, B.C.-based Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL) noted that a few years ago a blood test study found that more than half of the animals in their care had poison residue in their system. VHS welcomes this 18-month SGAR ban as a first step and is calling on the B.C. government to take further action to address rodenticide use across the province.

Details of SGAR ban

The SGAR ban is specific to poisonous baits containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone or difethialone. Use of SGARs is now prohibited, but with a long list of exemptions for what the government has deemed to be essential services, as well as agricultural operators.

Essential services are categorized as public health and safety; critical infrastructure; food supply; transportation; sanitation; communications and information technology; and mortuary services. For specific business types that qualify as exempt from the ban, visit the B.C. government website.

Given the list of exemptions, including in locations where there is a lot of active wildlife such as at a garbage dump or recycling facility, it remains to be seen how effective this ban will be at significantly reducing the widespread use of SGARs and their negative impacts.

While the use of SGARs for non-essential services is prohibited, the ban does not prohibit other dangerous rodenticides from being used. This includes first-generation anticoagulants (FGARs), such as chlorophacinone, diphacinone, and warfarin, and neurotoxins, such as bromethalin. These rodenticides pose a similar threat to the public, pets and wildlife.

What’s next?

VHS is advocating for the B.C. government to ban all rodenticides and to reassess and shorten the list of exempt users. VHS recommends that the remainder of the 18-month temporary SGAR ban be used to plan the phase out of rodenticides, in favour of humane alternatives for lethal management and preventative measures that address the underlying causes of conflict with rodents. VHS encourages the B.C. government to prioritize and invest in research around new and emerging humane alternatives and set goals and targets for shifting away from rodenticide use overall.

It’s also crucial that the government proactively enforce the current SGAR ban to ensure prohibited rodenticides are removed in a timely manner from locations where they are no longer permitted. The government must also take steps to educate the public about these restrictions and how to identify what is in bait boxes. 

Actions you can take

1) Add your signature below, in support of VHS’s request that the B.C. Ministry of Environment take additional action to ban rodenticides. VHS will deliver a summary report, including a letter outlining our recommendations and the total number of public signatures, to the Environment Ministry’s Integrated Pest Management Unit.

2) Help raise awareness within the community about the current SGAR poisons ban:

Share this link to the B.C. government’s website, outlining the details of the ban. Send it to your strata or building manager, the principal and other school administrators at your school, the building manager at your office, and anyone else who should be made aware of the ban.

3) Support citizen science projects related to rodenticides:

Identify and report the use of banned rodenticides:

  • Be on the lookout for black bait boxes, often found around the outside perimeter of buildings, as well as inside of buildings. If the bait box contains a rodenticide, a label identifying the active ingredient or its registration number, along with the contact information for the pest control company, should be on the outside of the container lid. Note: The presence of a bait box does not necessarily mean SGAR poisons are being used, as bait boxes may contain snap traps or other products.
  • If the active ingredient noted on the label is brodifacoum, bromadiolone, or difethialone and the bait box is not in a location that is exempt from the ban (see the complete list of exemptions), please document the following in order to file a report: take photos of the outside of the bait box, label and surrounding location. Please also note the date, time and location. If there is no label noting the active ingredient, please take the same steps to file a report. Note: Do not tamper with bait boxes.

Report dead wild birds:

  • Report wild bird deaths to the B.C. government’s wild bird mortality hotline at 1-866-431-BIRD (2473). Click here for more information.
  • Support citizen science being done to track wild bird deaths by contacting Deanna Pfeifer at dgpfeifer@shaw.ca. Please take photos or videos of the deceased bird and note the date and location. Follow the steps outlined here to safely handle and store the bird.