Health Canada has announced a complete ban on strychnine use—a positive outcome for animal welfare - BC SPCA
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Health Canada has announced a complete ban on strychnine use—a positive outcome for animal welfare

March 7, 2024

UPDATE: Health Canada has announced a complete ban on strychnine use in Canada after consulting the public and stakeholders. All uses of strychnine will be illegal by September 7, 2024 and all registrations of strychnine will be cancelled. While this decision is a very positive outcome for animal welfare, this ban does not apply to Compound 1080, which is still legal for use in Canada. Further updates will be provided here as new information is released.

BC SPCA urges Canadians to take action against inhumane wildlife poisoning

Original Story: June 21, 2021

In March 2021, the BC SPCA urged Canadians to sign a Federal e-petition to end wildlife poisoning by banning the use of strychnine, Compound 1080, and sodium cyanide. By June 2021, the e-petition received support from 8,929 Canadians, 69% of which were British Columbians. MP Len Webber (Alberta) read the petition in the House of Commons in May 2021. The use of sodium cyanide will not be permitted as of December 31, 2021, as this product has been cancelled by the manufacturer. The use of strychnine and Compound 1080 is still awaiting re-evaluation and final decision from Health Canada.

These three poisons are known as “predacides and are allowed to be used in Canada to control large predators (wolves, coyotes, and bears) for the purposes of protecting livestock, vulnerable wildlife species, or the health and safety of people in remote areas. 

The use of these poisons is allowed under federal permits, and while not used currently in B.C., their use is well known in Alberta and SaskatchewanSadly the poisons are widely acknowledged as inhumane methods of killing animals due to the intensity and duration of suffering they cause  including uncontrollable seizures, and death by asphyxiation, which occurs several hours or even days later depending on the dose.  

These poisons are also indiscriminate and can cause the death of other non-target wild animals, such as foxes, lynx, and eagles, as well as pets and farm animals. They also potentially pose a threat to human health,” says Dr. Andrea Wallace, BC SPCA manager of wild animal welfare. “Once they’re in the environment, they are highly persistent and very hard to control. Carcasses of poisoned animals remain toxic and become another source of poison for non-target animals who die the same painful and prolonged deaths. 

In 2019, the BC SPCA prepared a submission to Health Canada to support the inclusion of humaneness as a criteria for evaluating product approval. Despite significant feedback, Health Canada decided not to include humaneness in product assessments,” says Wallace Health Canada’s response stated they will initiate a re-evaluation of strychnine, Compound 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate), and sodium cyanide in 2021. Now is the time to tell Health Canada to ban the use of these poisons indefinitely.” 

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that the associated health and environmental risks of strychnine, Compound 1080, and sodium cyanide are unacceptable. “The science is clear,” says WallaceThe use of these predacides to control wolves and other large vertebrate predators is inhumane, non-selective, and in contravention of other national animal care guidelines and positions of veterinary associationsThese products simply shouldn’t be out there in the environment.” 

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