B.C. seeks feedback on sweeping plans to restrict rodent poison use

The B.C. government is looking for feedback on its plans to restrict the use of rodenticides, while not outright banning them.

The province says it plans to restrict the use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) to essential services only, since SGARs can potentially poison animals that eat rodents, such as owls and other wildlife.

The B.C. government plans to ban the use of SGARs for individuals and businesses starting in January, while allowing essential services like hospitals, food production and supply facilities, transportation operators and "select industrial operators" to continue to using them.

To use SGARs, these essential service industries will still have to apply for a licence, and must present pest-management plans that focus on other control methods, such as traps, less toxic rodenticides, or removing food sources.

TEMPORARY BAN

B.C. is already under a temporary SGAR ban. In July 2021, the province introduced an 18-month ban on the sale and use of rodenticides so it could review their use and environmental impacts.

The move was celebrated by some conservation groups like Rodenticide Free B.C., which has long called for a permanent ban on the use of rodenticides to protect wildlife, particularly owls.

But last year's decision also alarmed some industry workers, who said traps alone would be unable to stop the expansion of pests.

"It is impossible to control rodent infestations after the trapping rate is exceeded by the breeding rate," said Kelvin McCulloch, president of home goods and outdoor gear company, Buckerfield's, in November.

The province is accepting feedback on its plans to restrict SGAR use to essential services only on its website until June 19.