Australia’s largest bird protection group urges Bunnings Warehouse to take a popular assortment off the shelves.
BirdLife Australia is calling on the hardware giant to stop selling some rat and mouse poison products, claiming they are killing native birds and wildlife.
Rodenticide sales in Bunnings skyrocketed in the first six months of 2021 after an extreme mouse plague hit Eastern Australia, resulting in empty shelves in many stores.
But now, BirdLife Australia says our birds of prey – including wedge-tailed eagles, southern boobooks, and possibly mighty owls – are dying after eating rodents poisoned by some of these products.
She has started a petition urging Bunnings to stop selling second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGAR), which are restricted in many parts of the world, including the US, Canada and parts of Europe.
“Owls, eagles and other birds of prey are dying unnecessarily from ingesting poisoned rats and mice,” says the BirdLife Australia petition.
“Rodenticides are poisons designed to kill mice and rats, but they also have other effects. The second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGAR) poisons are the worst.
“It is these products that Bunnings is supposed to be removing from their shelves.
“SGARs work by causing internal bleeding, but when rats and mice eat bait poisoned with SGARs, they themselves become toxic, injure and even kill other animals and birds that eat them.
“Studies in Australia have found SGARs in dead birds of prey, including southern boobooks and wedge-tailed eagles, and BirdLife Australia is currently researching the effects on mighty owls.”
While the petition states that mouse and rat poisons are available from various retailers across Australia – including Coles and Woolworths – it has targeted Bunnings with its petition due to the amount of rodenticide products sold.
“These household products are banned from public sale in the US, Canada and the EU. But Australian regulations are lagging behind and SGARs – including Talon, Fast Action RatSak, and The Big Cheese Fast Action brands are available in supermarkets and hardware stores across Australia, ”the petition reads.
“Bunnings has roughly half the home improvement hardware market in Australia and sells a wider range of second generation rodenticide products than any other major market.
“Bunnings can eliminate a huge source of toxins by taking these products off the shelves and instead offering consumers equally effective alternatives.”
The group suggests that Australians use an “old-fashioned snap trap” to catch rodents around the house.
It also suggests using first generation rodenticide anticoagulant products that “work just as well … but don’t have the same effects on non-target species” as SGAR poisons.
A spokesman for Bunnings told 7NEWS.com.au that it has many natural and wildlife-safe rodent control products.
The retail giant also said it is working with suppliers to help shoppers make informed purchases.
“We always respect feedback from the community and recently met with BirdLife Australia to understand their views and explain the steps we are taking to educate customers about rodent control products,” said Adrian Pearce, General Manager Merchandising at Bunnings.
“Like many retailers, we offer a range of rodent control products, including anticoagulant rodenticides, as well as a number of non-toxic alternatives such as rodent repellers, live traps, regular rat traps and natural bait pellets like Ratsak’s Natural range. This gives the customer a choice and a natural solution to any rodent problem.
“We know that second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) are risky for birds and some wildlife, and we proactively promote the safe use of these products and help customers make informed purchasing decisions.
“Over the past few months we’ve been working with our suppliers to add additional information on packaging and to update our website so customers can see which products are first or second generation rodenticides.
“In addition, we create training courses for our team members to improve their knowledge on this topic. We are also in the process of implementing the separation of first and second generation rat poison varieties along with naturally derived rodenticides on our shelves to further facilitate product selection for our customers.
“We will continue to closely follow the advice of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) and work with our suppliers to innovate in this area.”
7NEWS.com.au understands that Bunnings offers the widest range of rodenticidal rodent control products in Australia and offers its customers a wide choice.
Some social media users agreed to BirdLife Australia’s petition to stop selling some rodent control products.
“Cruel and stupid. People who use it have to keep in mind that it will likely end up in the groundwater as well, ”said one.
Another added: “Rat bait doesn’t just kill rats. Instead, rats become the silent killer of birds that help control rats and mice, as well as snakes, quolls, which can also become collateral damage. Please show residents and farmers more effective means of killing rats in the plague. “
Others, however, argued that buyers were set in their own way.
“Unfortunately fell on deaf ears. When I was working at Bunnings, people came to buy poisons for the smallest shit, ”said one.