BirdLife Australia is calling for dangerous second-generation rat poisons to be pulled from the supermarket shelves after similar bans in the US and Europe were introduced to protect birds of prey from harm.  

Owls, kites and other birds of prey are dying from eating rats and mice that have ingested Second Generation rodent poisons (SGARs). These household products – including Talon, Fast Action RatSak and The Big Cheese Fast Action brand rat and mice bait – have been banned from general public sale in many countries, but are available from supermarkets and hardware stores throughout Australia.  

“The poisoned rats are like walking time-bombs,” says BirdLife Australia’s Public Affairs Manager, Sean Dooley. “Birds like Boobooks and Black-shouldered Kites can devour multiple rats and mice that have taken bait, as the poison takes some time to work and the contaminated rodents can continue to wander around.”

He continues, “It’s a long and painful death for the birds, as SGARs don’t break down quickly—some can stay in tissues and organs for months, even years. Unfortunately, this just makes it easier for birds to get a lethal dose of toxins.”

We need much tighter controls on rat baits. The good news is that the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is currently asking Australians for their views on how the dangerous chemicals in rodent poisons are regulated and whether they should be freely available. It’s an issue that can have a big impact on our owls and other birds of prey. BirdLife Australia is encouraging members of the public to make a submission here:

There are alternatives for household rodent control—click here (and scroll) to can find out more about the impacts of rat poison on our birds of prey and what you can do.