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Concerns that rat poison restrictions aren't enough to protect birds of prey

From today, there are new regulations in place for the purchase of and use of rodent poisons in Ireland.

AN TAISCE HAS said that the new regulations being introduced to regulate the pest control industry and associated products aren’t adequate enough to keep wildlife safe.

From today, new rules will be enforced to restrict the sales of AVK rodenticides, which are the most widely-used type of rodenticides.

It’s hoped that these new regulations will reduce the “potential risks to people and animals from primary and secondary poisoning and to the environment”.

The highly-toxic poison is widely available for use by the public “since there is currently no satisfactory alternative product available to control rodent pests”, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The rules will mean that the sales of rat poison will have to be tracked, and professional pest controllers will have to sign up to a register to ensure they have the proper training.

Farmers will also have to register to use the poisons, and won’t be permitted to use permanent baiting or pulsed baiting techniques, as professional pest controllers can.

But An Taisce say that there’s still ”a major problem” when where rodents that have ingested rat poison are fed on by birds of prey.

The birds An Taisce have expressed concern about include the barn owl, kestrel and long-eared owl.

“The use of poison bait in Ireland that targets foxes and crows is a major concern,” a spokesperson added.

“Apart for the impact the targeted species, the bait is picked up by other species. This had a particular impact on the reintroduction of the white-tailed eagle in the south west between 2013 and 2015, and on the golden eagle in 2010.”


An Taisce are recommending that restrictions be put in place for farmers who use poisoned bait “indiscriminately and improperly”. It’s recommending that farmers should receive reduced farm subsidy payments through the Common Agricultural Policy if they’re found to be using the substance irresponsibly.

The Irish Farmers’ Association’s Grain Chairman Liam Dunne said rodenticides are important for maintaining effective controls on farms.

“Farmers recognise the importance of their proper use to avoid the targeting of their livestock,” he said.

“Any new regulations will have to have full consultation with farmers. They has to be practical, easy to access and cost effective.”

An Taisce also wants the Department of Agriculture to look at other poisons that are commonly used:

“[We], in common with NGOs across the world, [are] particularly concerned at the need to cease the use of neonicotinoid pesticides because of impact on bee populations.”

Neonicotinoid is a type of insect poison that’s similar to nicotine, but can also cause a lesser toxicity in birds and mammals.

Read: From next year, stores will have to track the sales of rodent poison

Read: ‘Ireland makes headlines in Norway when a white-tailed eagle is killed here’

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