New California Law Protecting Wildlife From Super-Toxic Rat Poisons Took Effect On January 1, 2021

Increased safeguards to protect California’s native wildlife and domestic animals from super-toxic rat poisons began on January 1, 2021.

The California Ecosystems Protection Act (A.B. 1788) places important restrictions on the use of super-toxic rat poison, known as second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides, to protect animals.

“This common sense step to better protect our wildlife from these dangerous rat poisons should be adopted across the nation,” said Jonathan Evans, Environmental Health Legal Director at the Center for Biological Diversity in a statement. “When there are literally hundreds of safer, cost-effective solutions on store shelves, there is no reason to leave the worst of the worst poisons on the market.”

The new law, introduced by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), requires state regulators to reduce the threats to nontarget wildlife before the new restrictions on second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides can be lifted. It also includes exceptions to protect public health, water supplies and agriculture.

“Rodenticides are known to cause extreme suffering and death to non-target animals such as raptors who are harmed from secondary poisoning,” said Kim Kelly, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “It makes complete sense to end this cruel practice with much safer alternatives available.”

Despite a 2014 ban on consumer sales, the super-toxic rodenticides continued to be heavily used by commercial operators. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s 2018 analysis of 11 wildlife studies determined anticoagulant rodenticides are poisoning a wide range of animals, including: mountain lions, bobcats, hawks, and endangered wildlife such as Pacific fishers, spotted owls, and San Joaquin kit foxes.

“Anticoagulants kill the very wildlife that help us control rats and mice. California is taking a giant step to reduce secondary poisoning and towards a sustainable public health solution,” said Lisa Owens Viani, Director of Raptors Are The Solution.

A.B. 1788 was cosponsored by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity and Raptors Are The Solution.

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