Wolf Awareness is a non-profit Canadian organization dedicated to the conservation of wolves through research and public education about wolf ecology.

Media Release – Coalition of organizations launch campaign to ban 3 deadly wildlife poisons

Date: 16th October 2017

Groups and experts condemn use of inhumane and indiscriminate poisons still being used in Canada to kill wolves and other wildlife

GOLDEN, BRITISH COLUMBIA – (Oct 16 2017). As a coordinated action during Wolf Awareness Week (Oct 16-22 2017),environmental and animal organizations launched the #PoisonFree campaign to encourage Canadians to urge Health Minister Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor to immediately remove 3 highly toxic poisons from the Canadian landscape. Strychnine, Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide are deadly to all warm-blooded animals but are used primarily to kill wolves and coyotes.

All 3 poisons cause extreme suffering by attacking the heart and nervous systems, leading to vomiting, violent seizures and eventually cardiac arrest or death by asphyxiation. The severity and duration of these symptoms led the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association to condemn poisoning of wildlife as being inhumane and thus unacceptable as killing agents in 2014, with particular emphasis on strychnine and Compound 1080,. Scientists and veterinarians have expressed that these bans are long overdue.

The poisons are placed in baits which can attract pets and other wildlife, causing non-target deaths. Animals that consume the baits can take up to 24 hours to die, and carcasses containing Compound 1080 and strychnine are toxic to scavengers, causing widespread secondary poisoning through the food chain.

Health Canada’s Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is responsible for assessing risks for all pesticides, including wildlife poisons, and registers products that contain them. Each pesticide requires an evaluation every 15 years. Strychnine is currently being assessed.

“The previous re-evaluation of strychnine was never completed. Health Canada made an interim decision to permit its use despite known risks to non-target wildlife,” remarks Hannah Barron, Wolf Awareness Inc Conservation Director. “Staff admitted that the current evaluation will be limited to strychnine products used to kill ground squirrels, ignoring published research from the Little Smoky caribou range in Alberta where strychnine used to target wolves killed more non-target wildlife than both the number of poisoned wolves and the number of caribou in the herd they are ostensibly protecting. Almost 100 dogs have been poisoned with strychnine since 1998. How many deaths will be enough?”

A final decision on the use of strychnine in Canada is expected to undergo public consultation in March 2018. Re-evaluations for Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide are not expected for another 5 years.

Compound 1080 is legal in Saskatchewan, and all 3 poisons are legal in Alberta. Strychnine and Compound 1080 were implicated in the deaths of dogs, wolves and coyotes in British Columbia this past winter, despite the province not having the required permits to use these dangerous toxicants.

Strychnine and Compound 1080 were banned in 1972 in the USA as predator-killing agents due to environmental hazards. Recently, the accidental death of a dog and severe poisoning of a young child by a single sodium cyanide cartridge baited for coyotes led to a petition to the USA Environmental Protection Agency to ban cyanide in the lower 48 states. Strychnine has been banned in the European Union since 2006. Ontario banned wildlife poisoning in 1887.
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Media contacts:
Hannah Barron, Conservation Director, Wolf Awareness Inc  hannah@wolfawarenessinc.org  647 567 8337
Sheryl Fink, Campaign Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare  sfink@ifaw.org  519 830 0046
Sadie Parr, Executive Director, Wolf Awareness Inc  sadie@wolfawarenessinc.org  250 272 4695
Dr. Judith Samson-French, DVM, BSc, MSc – Veterinarian – Banded Peak Veterinary Hospital, Bragg Creek, Alberta  judith@pearls365.com  403-949-3249
Dr. Judit Smits, DVM, MVetSc, PhD – Department of Ecosystem and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary  jegsmits@ucalgary.ca  403-210-7407

Campaign website: www.wehowl.ca/PoisonFree

Addenda:
– Canadian Veterinary Medical Association: Pest Control Statement (2014) https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/documents/pest-control
– Veterinarian Dr. Judith Samson-French letter to Health Minister

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