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e-3047 (Animals)

Initiated by Sheryl Fink from Guelph, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Strychnine, Compound 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate), and sodium cyanide are widely acknowledged as inhumane methods of killing animals due to the intensity and duration of suffering they cause;
  • The use of strychnine and Compound 1080 is considered inhumane by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, and the use of strychnine as a method of euthanasia is in contravention of the Canadian Council on Animal Care guidelines, and those of the the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Society of Mammalogists; and
  • The indiscriminate nature of these poisons results in the death of non-target animals, including wild and endangered species, pets, and farm animals, and poses a threat to human health.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to take immediate measures to end the use of strychnine, Compound 1080, and sodium cyanide for killing wolves, bears, coyotes, and other large vertebrates.

Response by the Minister of Health

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Jennifer O'Connell

In Canada, pesticides are regulated federally under the Pest Control Products Act, which is administered by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). Health Canada’s number one priority is to protect the health and safety of Canadians and the environment.

Before a pesticide is allowed to be used or sold in Canada, it must undergo a rigorous scientific assessment process to determine that the health and environmental risks of using the product are acceptable, when used according to label directions. Health Canada does not determine whether a product should be used (for example, for wildlife control or any other purpose), only that it can be used safely in accordance with the conditions of registration.

There are currently three active ingredients registered to control large vertebrate predators in Canada: sodium fluoroacetate (Compound 1080), sodium cyanide and strychnine. However, the use of sodium cyanide will not be permitted as of December 31, 2021, as this pesticide has been cancelled by the manufacturer. Health Canada’s assessments of these pesticides indicated that the use has value and the risks of the product are acceptable, provided that the directions for use specified on the label are followed. Label instructions for these pesticides include restrictions to minimize poisoning of non-target animals, including species at risk, and other measures to minimize exposure to humans. It should be noted that these products are restricted class products and can only be used by provincial officials in Alberta and Saskatchewan, or persons designated by these provinces specifically to control large predators, in circumstances where livestock have been killed, threatened wildlife populations have been impacted through predation, or there are risks to people. Conditions of use require measures be taken to prevent non-target exposure, and noncompliance with these measures are subject to enforcement under the Pest Control Products Act and the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act.

In addition, although humaneness protocols and guidelines are established by veterinary and animal care organizations for situations such as laboratory animal testing or livestock abattoirs, it is important to note that these are not standardized. Rather, they are set for each circumstance, based on the ability to closely control and observe the animals and the conditions they are subject to, and to minimize unnecessary suffering. It should also be noted that there are currently no standardized scientific protocols in place in any Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development country for evaluating the humaneness of products intended to control problem animals in the wild.

Health Canada acknowledges concerns among Canadians about the use of pesticides to control large predators and the unintended effects on non-target animals. As such, in the interest of seeking Canadians’ views and input regarding the humaneness of these pesticides, Health Canada published the consultation document Humane Vertebrate Pest Control for a 120-day consultation period that ended in April 2019. On January 21, 2021, a summary document of what was heard during that consultation was published, as well as an Information Note: Regulation of Pesticides to Control Large Vertebrate Predators.

Health Canada also periodically re-evaluates pesticides that are on the market to assess whether they continue to meet the Department’s health and environmental standards, and hence whether they should continue to be permitted for use in Canada. In January 2021, the PMRA initiated re-evaluations of strychnine, Compound 1080, and sodium cyanide. Note that the re-evaluation of sodium cyanide has since been closed, following the manufacturer’s decision to cancel the registration of sodium cyanide. The remaining two re-evaluations will involve reviewing all aspects of these predacide uses (environmental risks, including non-target deaths, and human health risks and value). Based on the outcome of the re-evaluations of these pesticides, the PMRA will then make a determination regarding their continued acceptability, and will publish for public consultation a proposed re-evaluation decision for each of these pesticides. The Department will consider all comments received during the consultation period before finalizing its decisions.

Open for signature
December 21, 2020, at 9:28 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
April 20, 2021, at 9:28 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Len Webber (Calgary Confederation)
May 3, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00907)
Government response tabled
June 16, 2021
Photo - Len Webber
Calgary Confederation
Conservative Caucus