California Assembly Approves Expansion Of The Ban On Toxic Rat Poisons To Increase Protections For Wildlife

The California Assembly passed legislation on a 57-12 vote that expands protection for children, pets, and wildlife from toxic rat poisons. Spearheaded by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Burbank), the California Ecosystems Protection Act of 2023, or Assembly Bill 1322, now awaits Senate approval.

“We know the current rodenticide ban doesn’t offer adequate protection because unintentional poisoning is still harming our communities and wildlife,” said Friedman. “I’m proud to work alongside lawmakers who understand the importance of getting these dangerous poisons off the market, and I’m confident our Senate colleagues will agree.”

A.B. 1322 expands on the existing moratorium on second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides to include diphacinone, a first-generation anticoagulant rodenticide. The proposed legislation will increase safeguards from the most toxic rat poisons until state regulators develop stronger restrictions for their use.

“Anyone who has seen the suffering of mountain lions or spotted owls from rodenticide poisoning knows how heart-breaking this is,” said J.P. Rose, Urban Wildlands policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Both people and wild animals are at risk, so putting restrictions on the deadliest rat poisons is the least we can do for our family members and the wildlife we hold dear.”

The legislation, sponsored by the Center for Biological Diversity and Raptors Are The Solution, also protects against the unintended poisoning of people. In 2021, anticoagulant rodenticides were involved in more than 3,000 cases of human poisonings, including at least 2,300 involving children, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Despite the existing moratorium, California wildlife continues to be harmed or killed by rodenticides at an alarming rate. More than half of the wild animals tested in the state have been exposed to rodenticides. In a Santa Monica Mountains study, 39 of 40 mountain lions tested positive for rodenticides.

Anticoagulant rodenticides are intended to control the rodent population, but rodents that are poisoned end up being consumed by other wildlife, causing secondary poisoning that further harms the food chain.

The vote on A.B. 1322 comes after the Department of Pesticide Regulation announced on May 19th that it would re-evaluate the use of diphacinone following a California Court of Appeal decision that the agency violated the law in failing to consider the chemical’s cumulative effects on wildlife.

“The situation is extremely dire for bobcats, eagles, hawks, and many other species that make California so unique,” said Lisa Owens Viani, director of Raptors Are The Solution. “We need a commonsense solution now before it’s too late for the imperiled wildlife that already face the threats of overdevelopment and a warming climate.”

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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