'Crazy' EU proposal to ban rat poison
THE European Union is considering a ban on rat poison that could lead to an infestation of rodents not seen since the bubonic plague hundreds of years ago, an MEP has warned.
The ban, which is being pushed through the European Parliament by green MEPs, is meant to protect the public from toxic substances but opponents have branded it ‘crazy’.
Struan Stevenson, MEP for Scotland, warned the proposal was already ‘well on its way’ through the regulatory system and urged the agricultural industry and fellow politicians to step up their game to stop it in its tracks.
“This is not scaremongering, there is a real possibility that we could see a ban on anticoagulant rodenticides – the most widely used group of rodent poisons.
“If it goes through, farmers will be left without any decent tool to tackle rodents which will result in an infestation not seen for centuries,” he warned.
The problem stems out of the an update to the EU’s Biocides Directive – a piece of legislation introduced more than a decade ago to control the use of chemical substances used to kill living organisms.
Krista Klass, the MEP who successfully removed many key crop protection substances from the market with her pesticides reform last year, has inserted a clause into the biocides update to remove rodenticides from the market.
Under her proposal all rodenticides would fail safety cut-off criteria because they are ‘toxic to human reproduction’ and they would fail a derogation clause to keep chemicals deemed too important to lose.
All farmers – whether protecting chicken eggs, grain stores, animal feed or buildings – need effective rodent control, which is a requirement under farm assurance schemes such as Red Tractor.
But without anticoagulant rodenticides – which make up 95 per cent of all available rodent control – their armoury would be laid bare.
John Peck from BASF, a chemical company that manufactures some of the potentially doomed rodenticides, confirmed the industry had no real or effective alternatives.
“There are a few options but none of them satisfactory,” he said.
Paul Chambers, NFU chemicals expert, travelled to Brussels this week to tell MEPs how damaging the ban could be.
“We are lobbying MEPs to vote on sound science and common sense, not politics.
“We have told them a ban would create a serious public health issue far worse than the toxicity of the poison,” he said.
Hazel Doonan, from Agricultural Industries Confederation, said there was ‘no logical reason why the legislation should go ahead’ but she warned: “MEPs don’t always listen to logic.”
MEPs on the environment committee will vote on the ban in early June before the full parliament votes in July.