ground squirrel

ACTION ALERT: September 27 comment deadline on wildlife poisoning

Lia Laskaris Advocacy 1 Comment

Most Canadians cannot believe that the federal government still allows wild animals to be poisoned.  Alberta and Saskatchewan still use Strychnine, a highly toxic poison to kill ground squirrels.  But now, for the first time, Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) under Health Canada is recommending a ban on the use of Strychnine for this purpose.

The PMRA states “Under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act and based on the evaluation of currently available scientific information, Health Canada is proposing that products containing strychnine for control of ground squirrels do not meet current standards for environmental protection and, are therefore, proposed to be cancelled.”

A Rare Opportunity:

Banning of this type of strychnine use is very rare and will help end the suffering of ground squirrels, as well as non-target animals.  Just this spring, a young dog named Ruby died after ingesting the poison set out to kill ground squirrels.  In 2017, in Saskatchewan, a dog named Roo also died from ingesting the same poison.

You can help us make sure that Heath Canada decides to stop the use of cruel strychnine.   You can also help send a strong message to the Minister of Health and federal Members of Parliament that the production and sale of other poisons, such as Compound 1080, strychnine use for wolves and coyotes, and Sodium cyanide should also be banned.

How You Can Help:

Please send two emails before September 27, 2018.  Be sure to include the document title (PRVD2018-13, Strychnine and Its Associated End-use Products (Ground Squirrel Use)) in your subject line or in the body of your email.

1)  Email your support of the ban to or use their comment form at this website (click here).

It can be as simple as the following, or you may use the sample letter to the Minister below:

I am opposed to the use of strychnine products for the control of ground squirrels. There is significant and sufficient evidence to show it is ineffective in the long-term, that it is inherently inhumane, and that it has serious negative environmental impacts in ecosystems.

I believe that your re-evaluation should result in banning this substance for use against ground squirrels as suggested in your document PRVD2018-13.


[Your name and postal code]

2)  Email or mail (postage-free!) the Minister of Health, Ginette Petitpas Taylor.

A sample letter is below:

Ginette Petitpas Taylor,
Minister of Health,
House of Commons,
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

Dear Minister,

Re PRVD2018-13, Strychnine and Its Associated End-use Products (Ground Squirrel Use)

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the proposal to ban strychnine on ground squirrels. I support this ban for the facts that the poison is inhumane, indiscriminate, and results in the poisoning of non-target species including pronghorns, other rodents, birds of prey, scavenging species and pets.

Furthermore, I ask that you immediately ban the production, processing, sale and use of convulsion-causing toxins strychnine, sodium cyanide and Compound 1080 across Canada for similar reasons:

– all cause wildlife to suffer greatly before dying
– all pose a serious threat to species at risk, pets and people
– they are not effective at reducing livestock losses to wild predators
– there are effective, non-lethal ways to prevent outbreaks of rodent populations
– poisons are transported across provinces and used in restricted areas

Brazil, Belize, Thailand, Laos, China, South Africa, and several US states are just a few places that have banned these poisons.

Published research that shows strychnine baits laid for wolves in Little Smoky caribou range in Alberta killed more non-target animals than wolves. Indeed, more non-target wildlife died than the number of caribou in the herd the government is supposedly trying to protect.

Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide have similar impacts on non-target wildlife, and pose similar risks to people and pets.

[Your name and postal code]

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.  As always, thank you for your activism.

To learn more about poisons, visit Animal Alliance of Canada at

To read Health Canada’s Strychnine Consultation Document, click here.

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