'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.

Readers' comments (19)

  • Crazy, mad, idiotic - call it what you like but what else have we come to expect from Brussels - more rules & regs that defy logic!

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  • Do we have to obey everything the EU demands? What would happen if we simply didn't do it? Is this another example of inappropriate laws that don't suit the English, or even British, way of Life. Another opportunity to question the benefit of membership?

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  • Yet one more reason we should seriously question our membership of this club. What has the EU done for us lately?

    1) Livestock burial ban
    2) Banned Strychnine
    3) Tried to create an agriculture policy that fits all but cleary benefits some states more than others.

    I'd consider voting UKIP if they got rid of some of the senior members who are clearly 'looney tunes' and would be / are an embarrassment

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  • There are rats everywhere, millions of them, even with farmers and householders continually putting down poison. Imagine how it would be with no control at all !!!! How thoughtless can the EU get.

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  • I would guess that rats are successful in every country of the EU. Whether on farms, food stores or human habitation.

    These products should be used responsibly. Over the last few years there has been a great improvement in the way that bait has been laid. You no longer see bait accessible to dogs or birds. It is training that is required rather than a ban.

    If a rat should stray into Mrs Klasse's kitchen I suspect she would soon think again.


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  • If the EU is actually seriously considering banning control measures for rodents, you have to seiously ask have we joined a group which are totally out of touch with reality?

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  • Before stopping one method have a viable alternative.
    If it aint broke don't mend it.
    Tell the EU to get lost

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  • this just proves they dont live in the real world. Just igore them like the rest of mainland europe does.

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  • Aside from the effect that this amazingly stupid ban would have on humans consider the effect that a plague - and it would be - of rats would have on the wildlife in this country. I have nothing against a lot of the principles that the Greens have but if they want an environmentally acceptable way of life would wiping out ground nesting birds be the way to do it, because the hoards of rats would eat every egg they could find.

    Then add to this the effect on the supply on uncontaminated food for human consumption then the scenario is unthinkable.

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  • I have to take rat poison twice a day. Will it be banned for me as well as for other rats?

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