Poisons

Update:

Click here to download our December 2022 submission to Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency.

The Issue:

In December 2020, the Animal Protection Party of Canada submitted a report to Health Canada advocating against the continued use of inhumane poisons including Compound 1080, Strychnine, and Cyanide.  The report documented faulty and inadequate “science” that Health Canada relies on to justify the use of these poisons.

The APPC’s report has become more critical because Health Canada has decided after a public consultation not to consider humane issues under its Vertebrate Pest Control programme, a programme that allows the cruel poisoning of wolves, coyotes and black bears.

Health Canada has now responded to the more than 4000 submissions from NGO’s, the public, and provincial and municipal governments.  In their response, they have stated that they “…will not be taking steps towards incorporating humaneness considerations into the pesticide risk assessment framework.” This despite that “humaneness” was a factor in Health Canada restricting the use of Strychnine to control ground squirrels, this same principle will not be extended to other wildlife such as coyotes, wolves, and cougars.

There justification for this position is that they cite “…no internationally recognized science-based parameters to evaluate the humaneness of pesticides…” However, the Canadian Veterinarian Medical Association (CVMA) already classifies Strychnine and Compound 1080 as inhumane due to the prolonged suffering and pain they cause.  Why the assessment of these pesticides by the CVMA is insufficient for Health Canada’s humaneness criteria is not explained.

Despite this failure to protect animals from inhumane suffering, Health Canada has stated it will take the following steps in response to the consultation:

  1. Improve awareness of federal and provincial/territorial roles and responsibilities with respect to wildlife management and animal welfare.
  2. Improve awareness of predacide use restrictions and scenarios.
  3. Improve awareness of the risks associated with predacide use.

These steps fall far short of addressing the concerns of a vast majority of Canadians who care about the suffering of wildlife caused by these poisons. It also shows the influence of animal agriculture NGO’s to influence public policy which argued that use of these poisons was already very restrictive on them.  However, evidence in our report to Health Canada showed that use of these poisons was not well regulated and killed significant non-target species indiscriminately in the process.

The Animal Protection Party of Canada will continue to advocate against the use of poisons, to support a broad based wildlife protection initiative to have poisons banned once and for all and to look for opportunities to challenge the governments indifference to their inhumane effects.  We will also continue to promote evidence-based, non-lethal methods of co-habitation which are far more effective at reducing conflict long-term than poisoning.

Most Canadians cannot believe that the federal government still allows wild animals to be poisoned – to suffer an excruciating death. Who exactly allows this to happen?

The federal government licenses the poisons.  It is specifically the Health Minister who oversees the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, which regulates and approves the use of poisons, such as Compound 1080, Strychnine and Sodium Cyanide M-44s.

The provinces apply to use them. It is provincial governments and pest control companies who apply to use these cruel substances. Only Saskatechewan and Alberta still use the poisons to “manage” wildlife.

Currently, Alberta uses Compound 1080 and Strychnine.  Saskatchewan uses a different poison to kill coyotes.

The poisons are meant to kill animals who come into conflict with farmers – coyotes, wolves and bears (who may predate on sheep and calves), or squirrels and gophers (who may dig holes in fields where farm animals are kept, putting farm animals at risk of leg injuries).

Ban these pesticides:

The Animal Protection Party of Canada wants Health Canada to ban these poisons.

Killing “problem wildlife” does not work.  Both Saskatchewan and Alberta have used these poisons for years and continue to do so.

The science is clear and irrefutable:

  1.  Killing coyotes to reduce their population numbers has been an unmitigated failure despite centuries of trying.
  2.  Reducing coyote numbers, even temporarily, does not reduce predation on farmed animals.
  3.  The best methods to protect farm animals are all non-lethal.

The Coyote Project provides information about non-lethal solutions to reduce conflicts between farm animals and wildlife.

Speak Out!

We need to keep the pressure on the Minister of Health to bring in legislation banning the use of these poisons. So please, mail and call the Minister.  Hand-written letters are best.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON    K1A 0A6

T/  613-996-4792  F/ 613-996-9785
E/  jean-yves.duclos@parl.gc.ca

Remember that no action is too small.

Please contact us if you have any questions.