24 August 2000
Avoid strong rat poisons urges RSPB
By FWi staff
BIRDS of prey could be falling victim to high strength rat poisons used by farmers to control rats, claims the RSPB.
The bird protection charity has called on producers to use less lethal varieties if at all possible, reports the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.
Duncan McNiven from the RSPB said second generation pesticides, introduced as rats become immune to earlier poisons appear to be hitting raptor numbers.
Kites being great scavengers will pick up dead rodent bodies from around farm buildings scavenge of those carcasses and themselves become poisoned, he said.
Although deaths due to secondary poisoning are not unlawful, they are unfortunate and the RSPB believes they can be avoided.
It calls on farmers to stick to less potent poisons where they can and clear away any dead rodents from open country.
This plea comes in the week it was reported that three red kites had been poisoned in the East Midlands.
However, it is believed that this was a case of deliberate killing using poisoned-laced carrion.