Health Canada banning all uses of strychnine

Health Canada banning all uses of strychnine
Mar 07, 2024

The ban will go into effect in September

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Health Canada is moving forward with a complete ban of strychnine.

Farmers in Alberta and Saskatchewan, who used the product to control Richardson’s ground squirrels, have been banned from using strychnine since March 2023.

As of this fall, the ban will expand to all uses.

A six-month phaseout period is in effect with the ban officially starting on Sept. 7. And registrations of the product will be cancelled this week.

"All uses of strychnine are cancelled," Lynn Lee of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) said Wednesday in a conference call, The Canadian Press reported.

A PMRA decision in 2022 allowed for some uses of strychnine, but the agency received “new information” during a consultation process that supported its decision to proceed with a full ban.

In addition to its use to control pests in farm fields, strychnine was also used to control other predators.

In Alberta between 2005 and 2018, for example, strychnine killed 225 wolves and 239 other animals like foxes, coyotes and even a grizzly bear, The Canadian Press report says.

Animal welfare groups support Health Canada’s decision.

Sadie Parr, a representative of We Howl, an organization dedicated to wolf conservation, said the strychnine ban is a “big win for wolves, wildlife, people and companion animals across the country,” she said on X. “I’ll never forget this momentous occasion (forever).”

The federal government is expected to officially announce its decision on Thursday.

While Canadians won’t have access to strychnine after September 7, another product is still allowed.

Compound 1080, the name given to sodium monofluoroacetate, can still be used to control predators like wolves and coyotes.

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