Difenacoum-based products labelled for use only in and around buildings have started appearing on the shelves of country stores, and bromadiolone-based products are expected to suffer similar restrictions later in the year.
After the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) decision to impose restrictions in February, there was outcry from gamekeepers, pest controllers, and fieldsports and conservation organisations. The HSE imposed the restrictions despite there being no public announcement, and before it had finished a review on the risks posed by using the second-generation anticoagulant rat poisons (SGARs).
The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) wrote to DEFRA minister Lord de Mauley in February, explaining that the compounds were vital to rat control in the countryside. However, the minister responded by saying that the registration of “biocides” (chemicals that kill), as opposed to “plant protection products”, was a matter for the Department for Work and Pensions — that is, for Iain Duncan Smith’s jurisdiction. The HSE has said that if it concludes from its pending review of the impacts of the ban that the restrictions are unjustified, it will reverse the situation.
A spokesman from the NGO told Shooting Times: “The more we learn about the way the HSE has acted on this issue, and the wider consequences of its restrictions for rat control and, not least, public health, the more serious questions emerge. We are still campaigning vigorously to get the restrictions on outdoor use reversed, and that is the priority for our members. But there are also serious concerns about the HSE’s lack of due process, and we are now raising these with the secretary of state.”
The rest of this article appears in the 10th April issue of Shooting Times.
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