Anticoagulant rodent poisons are known to perpetuate through the food chain and frequently affect non-target animals including pets and wildlife. These poisons cause animals to die by slowly bleeding to death, since they disrupt the blood clotting system. Rat and mouse poisons used in homes and in commercial areas are a leading cause of death in birds of prey such as eagles, owls, hawks, falcons, but many other wildlife (including snakes, skunks, weasels, foxes, coyotes and raccoons) are now being found to have anticoagulant rodenticides in their bodies. Because rodent poisons perpetuate through the food chain, there is truly no way to protect non-target wildlife from exposure to rodent poisons.
The use of rodent poisons in the municipality of Whistler is widespread. While rodent poisons are technically regulated by laws, which require that the poisons be stored such that they cannot be accessed by pets and children, most of the pets that have been brought into the ER for rodent poison ingestion accessed the poisons where they were not properly secured in the Whistler Village (outside restaurants and businesses along the valley stroll). Some patients accessed the poisons in pet-friendly hotels and others in private residences.
If pets are able to access these poisons, small children in the Whistler Village may also be able to find and access the poisons. Rodenticides are included among the top 10 substances involved in poison exposures in children <6 years old. (Ontario Poison Centre). If a dog thinks it looks like candy, so will a toddler. In the US, the American Association of Poison Control Centers has received reports of approximately 12,000 to 15,000 rodenticide exposures in children younger than 6 years old every year. (Health Canada Website).
There are now many safer and more humane alternatives for rodent control than the use of poisons. Other municipalities in BC have paved the way in banning the use of rodenticides (Saanich and North Vancouver). Whistler is a leader in environmentalism, and so we encourage the municipality to recognize the threat that rodent poisons pose to the health of our community, to increase public knowledge on this topic, and to restrict or ban the use of rodenticides within the RMOW.
LINKS:Humane Rodent Control (BCSPCA): https://spca.bc.ca/…/urban-wildlife/humane-rodent-control/
A review: poisoning by anticoagulant rodenticides in non-target animals globally (J Vet Med Sci.): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6395208/