Nature and wildlife conservation organisations believe the mass roll out of the deadly poison bromadiolone could have catastrophic implications for birds and other wildlife and should not be approved.
“To see a mass roll out of this dangerous chemical being proposed now is extremely concerning” said Birdlife Australia Urban Birds Program Manager Holly Parsons.
The NSW Government is in the process of establishing free grain treatment sites across the rural areas most affected by the mice plague, pending Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) approval for the use of bromadiolone on crops.
Bromadiolone is known as a second-generation anticoagulant and kills animals by causing internal bleeding. It does not kill immediately or break down after it is ingested, meaning mice who have eaten it can be caught and eaten by other animals.
“The mice don’t die immediately, they slowly wonder around, sick, like ticking time bombs,” said Ms Parsons.
Birdlife Australia believe that if the NSW Government’s request is approved by the APVMA, unprecedented amounts of Bromadiolone will enter natural food chains and have a devastating effect on other animals.
Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Officer Chris Gambian said “the conservation movement believes control of invasive species and feral pests is critical to the health of native ecosystems.
“We all sympathise with communities battling this mouse plague, communities that have only recently emerged from years of drought.
“The last thing anybody wants is to make a bad situation worse by using chemicals that will poison wildlife food chains and potentially kill farm animals like working dogs and house cats.
“We must also ensure that native eagles, owls and reptiles don’t become collateral damage in the urgent battle to save crops and grain stores from this plague”, said Mr. Gambian.
The free grain treatment is part of the NSW Government’s $50 million support package to manage the impacts on regional communities, which also includes bait rebates for households and small businesses, community workshops and targeted pest research.
Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said farmers would be able to have their grain treated by the mice-killing chemical at the sites free of charge.
Conservation group BirdLife Australia have stated the need for mice plague control.
“Obviously measures need to be taken to combat the mouse plague and support regional communities, but there are other, less harmful chemicals available,” said Ms Parsons.
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW is urging the State Government “to use safer alternative to bromadiolone, including warfarin and coumatetralyl for home use and coumatetralyl and zinc phosphide for crops.”
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson has announced treatment sites in Tamworth and Gunnedah.
“I’ve been on the ground and seen the impact these vile vermin are having on our farming families. But the use of bromadiolone gives them another tool against the mice to use in conjunction with zinc phosphide and other methods.
“Our certified Local Land Services staff will be able treat farmers’ grain with bromadiolone free of charge so they can build a mice-free fortress to protect their paddocks. When used in conjunction with in-field zinc phosphide baiting, landholders will have a multi-layered defence against the rodents.
“The NSW Government has secured 5,000 locally-sourced litres of this mice-killing chemical. Now it is up to the APVMA to give us approval, once we get that we can start treating grain within days.
“We are working with the Federal Government to expedite this approval process,” said Mr Anderson.