The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has sparked fury among gamekeepers and fieldsports and conservation organisations by restricting the use of difenacoum rodenticides and bromadialone-based baits.

The two compounds were the only second-generation anti-coagulant rat poisons (SGARs) allowed to be used in open areas. The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) estimates they were used by three-quarters of all gamekeepers, as well as by farmers and pest contollers.

The HSE has, however, changed the labelling instructions, restricting the use of both compounds to “in and around buildings”. This is despite the fact that the HSE has not yet finished a review on the risks of these products.

Last year there was a public consultation on the use of SGARs, and until early February this year, there was talk of further consultations as well as seeking the views of ministers.

According to the NGO, the HSE has “jumped the gun” by imposing sweeping restrictions, and has done so with no public announcement or information campaign. The HSE claims it will reverse the restrictions if the review concludes that it has made a mistake.

The rest of this article appears in the 20th February issue of Shooting Times.

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