New South Wales government will be killing dogs, cats, livestock and wildlife with bromadiolone

Bromadiolone has been described as the world’s strongest mouse poison which kills them in 24 hours but which is yet to be approved by the regulators in Australia. The New South Wales government want to use it to manage and suppress the well-reported mouse plague in their state which, according to news media, is so severely disrupting households, farmers and businesses. But this desire to use a highly toxic poison which prevents blood clotting so animals bleed to death, has a sniff of madness about it. It indicates to me that this government has lost the plot and are in over their heads.

Bromadiolone
Bromadiolone. Photo in public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

It’s been hammered into our heads that the Australian government’s want to kill all the feral cats on the Australian continent to protect native species and yet here they are discussing a high toxic poison which is certain to kill native species as well as the target animal: mice.

Kill all the animals

Maggie Watson, an environmental scientist from Charles Sturt University dislikes bromadiolone for the reason stated. She said: “You end up killing your livestock; you end up killing your dogs. And then you kill all the animals and the eagles and everything else – it’s ridiculous.”

Of course, I am particularly concerned about domestic cats because this website is about cats but dogs are also high on my concerned list. They are going to be killed. Of course, this is a balancing act and a very difficult one between desperate measures to control the plague of mice, which is the worst in decades, and protecting other animals. It is clear to me that the scales of the balance favour the non-target animals. You cannot risk their lives in such large numbers. You have to find a better method to suppressing the plague.

Mouse plague of Australia
Mouse plague of Australia 2021. Photo: NSW Farmers Facebook page.

Cause

The mouse plague has been brought about because of a wet summer following a drought in New South Wales which resulted in a bumper harvest of crops such as rapeseed, barley and wheat. This was great for farmers but, sadly, it has fuelled this biblical plague. It is believed that it will ruin crops worth more than AU$1 billion.

Feral cat slaughter

I have suggested, perhaps wildly, that a contributing factor might be the mass slaughter of feral cats. Feral cats would have helped to keep down the mice numbers. In addition, there is a reluctance to use predators of mice to manage the plague. The prime candidate is the cat both domestic and feral. I think that if you carve out from the ecosystem an entire species such as the feral cat you create other problems which are perhaps greater than the problem that you originally desired to fix.

It’s time for Australia to think of better ways of managing feral cats. Nasty poisons are a last resort and I don’t think Australia is at that point yet.

Some more about bromadiolone

It’s called a potent anticoagulant rodenticide. How long does it take for bromadiolone to kill rats or mice? It can be lethal from one day’s feeding compared to some other rat poisons which might take multiple days of feeding. What does it do to people if they come into contact with it or ingest it? The symptoms of bromadiolone poisoning of humans include digestive tract haemorrhage, hematemesis and skin mucosa haemorrhage. It can also affect the central nervous system. A study concerned a 41-year-old man who had no contact with bromadiolone. He suffered from abnormal behaviour, and unsteady gait and dizziness. Tests revealed bromadiolone poisoning. It is a strong and long-acting rodenticide. The compound is called superwarfarin. It’s is able to defuse across the blood-brain barrier and therefore cause central nervous system (CNS) toxicity. It is highly toxic to dogs.

Fish and snakes

The snakes and fish are gorging themselves on mice as they are so abundant. One man was fishing at his favourite spot and caught a Murray cod. He saw something at the back of its throat and pulled it out with some pliers finding that it was a dead mouse which the fish had regurgitated. He said that the cod are gorging on mice. The local venomous snakes are also becoming fat. Brown snakes and carpet snakes are gorging themselves said Steve Thompson a snake catcher based in nearby Dubbo.

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