Rodenticides - BC SPCA
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UPDATE October 2022: Provincial government announces changes to permanently restrict certain rodenticides

In May 2022, the provincial government released the Integrated Pest Management Regulation (IPMR) Rodenticide Intentions Paper (PDF) for public comment. The proposal outlined draft regulatory and operational changes for the future use of rodenticides in B.C. – including use by private individuals, commercial and agricultural operators, municipalities and pest control users.

Now, the Provincial government has announced these changes will be made permanent. The new requirements will prohibit all public and most commercial uses of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) in B.C., with limited exemptions.

This is a big step forward for animal welfare – protecting wildlife from exposure to the most dangerous rodenticides, while promoting more effective and humane methods of pest control.

The temporary Minister’s Order from July 2021 is set to expire in January 2023, when the new regulations will take effect.

While exemptions for the use of SGARs remain, and the use of first-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (FGARs) continues to be permitted, there is still a need to focus on prevention and using humane approaches to rodent management.

Read the new regulations

For too long poisons have been the default strategy to manage rodent problems – but thankfully the risks and effectiveness of alternatives are being increasingly recognized. Rodenticide bait is made to smell like food to attract rodents, but its odour and flavour attracts many types of animals, putting them at risk of direct poisoning.

Rodent poisons or rodenticides come in different forms and fall into one of three categories: non-anticoagulants (e.g. corn cellulose, bromethalin, zinc phosphide) “First-Generation” anticoagulants (e.g., chlorophacinone, diphacinone, warfarin) or “Second-Generation” anticoagulants (e.g., brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone). As of July 21, 2021, Second-Generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs), are banned for sale and use in residential (PDF) and non-essential commercial (PDF) settings in the province. Exemptions are allowed for designated essential services and agricultural operators.

Anticoagulant rodenticides are the most commonly used in Canada. These rodenticides thin the blood and prevent it from clotting, causing internal bleeding which results in a slow and painful death. Poisoned rodents, and the animals who become poisoned by eating their carcasses, slowly bleed out over hours, days or even weeks.

Rodenticides are also dangerous for owls, eagles, raccoons, cougars and even cats and dogs. Rat poisoning is injuring our local wildlife. Every year, hundreds of domestic and wild animals receive emergency medical care to combat the deadly effects of secondary poisoning from eating rodents killed by rodenticide, and unknown numbers of others suffer painful deaths.

Wild northern pygmy owl hunting in snowy weather sitting on a wood post with a dead prey
Photo credit: Tania Simpson

How to help

You can help rodents and other wildlife by avoiding poisons as much as possible, and encouraging your friends, family and community to make changes as well.

Rodent control methods to avoid

Learn more about humane rodent control: