It’s not a hard blow, but no one wants to see owls, hawks, and foxes keep dying from eating poisoned mice and rats. So, A bill passed by the House to reduce the use of some rodenticides in the Commonwealth It can pass in the Senate.
“It’s a good bill,” he said. Senator Bruce Tarr, R. Gloucester, representing First Essex and Middlesex District. “It certainly doesn’t address all of the issues, but it will push us forward significantly.”
In the case is The second generation of anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs), which are commonly used and kill non-target animals.
Tarr describes the invoice, H4931as a very gradual and practical way to gain a better understanding of how and where rodenticides are used in the Commonwealth and to encourage a shift to the use of other methods of control.
If the measures contained in H4931 are enacted, the country will create a centralized and searchable digital database.
Representative Jim Hawkins, D. AttleboroHe said: “We know the medical link but we don’t know the usage. This will provide the usage data.”
“As it is now [SGARs] “It can only be used by professional pesticide companies anyway,” said Hawkins, who represents Bristol District Two. “You can’t buy it in the store. You’re not supposed to be able to buy it online, but you really can. We’re looking at the next step.”
The bill would also require integrated pest management (IPM) programs to be implemented in schools, including public colleges and universities, childcare centers, and all buildings and land owned or operated by the state.
These programs will require the use of non-SGAR controls for rodents first, Hawkins said.
Some of these alternatives are now being rolled out in communities that have seen an increase in rat activity in recent years. In Newton, for example, poison-free traps, carbon monoxide machines, and, believe it or not, use contraceptives to reduce rat populations..
Tarr said a lot of discussions about pesticides lately have centered on their effect on pollinators, especially bees. What this act does, he said, is to draw attention to the secondary poisoning that certain insecticides can cause, in this case poisoning of predators that help control rodent populations.
“So, the rodents are killed in a rather brutal process as a result of the use of these chemicals, and then a predator eats those rodents and suffers the same fate,” Tarr said. “So, you could inadvertently, or inadvertently, have a very detrimental effect on the food chain in the natural environment.”
The size of the problem
Zach Mertz is the executive director of the Birdseye Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable. Birdsey and Curtis Metro Boston Wildlife Center are part of Wildlife Centers of New England (NEWC) and treat all types of infected wildlife.
Between the two hospitals, Mertz said, NEWC treats a few hundred animals each year for suspected rodenticide poisoning.
“When an animal we suspect is sick comes in with rodenticide poisoning, we often diagnose the symptoms and then treat them,” Mertz said.
Take, for example, an owl that comes out of its mouth, has difficulty breathing, and does not clot properly.
“Because it’s a live animal and we’re trying to save its life, we’re going to start treatment,” Mertz said.
However, he said it’s important to note that NEWC is not able to test animals for rodenticides when they first come in. The first priority is to save the animal, and the test is expensive, so they only send tissue samples to a lab if the animal dies. Therefore, while it is very likely that the patient had rodenticide poisoning, this has not necessarily been confirmed.
Birds of prey at your service for free
Mertz said it would be great to ban SGARs together, but rodents can be a real problem and some controls are needed. Rodents carry diseases and can cause structural damage to buildings.
“The general meaning is that we want to move these toxins that have the most detrimental effects on the food chain to the back of the toolbox,” Mertz said.
It also notes that the widespread use of SGARs is counterproductive.
“You kind of bang your head against a wall because you take one or two rats at a time, and yes it might wipe out the population,” Mertz said, “but it can also stop people from taking the preventative maintenance that will really stem the tide of the real problem.”
Meretz tells the story of a large, horned owl that they took two years ago. He was the only survivor of a family poisoned with rodenticides, but he was treated and survived.
“It took 253 days before his blood clotted normally and before he could return to the wild,” Mertz said. “At the time he ate…I don’t remember the exact number but it was close to 2,000 mice.”
Like many other birds of prey, the great-horned owl will eat a variety of food items in the wild, including mice. The red-tailed hawk is also common in Massachusetts and eats, among other things, mice, rats, mice, rabbits, and ground squirrels.
“It’s talking about the huge ecosystem services that each one of these predators provides over the course of its lifetime,” Mertz said.
What’s next for the bill?
Hawkins said the bill, which passed through the House by voice vote, was never intended to impose an outright ban on SGARs.
He said, “She wasn’t going to go anywhere, and she wouldn’t leave the committee. We’re going to do it in this session, the next session, the next session, and how many animals would have died by then? We wanted something that would go through and make a difference in one session.” Home we got that.”
Traditionally, the House and Senate prepare separate bills and then the two are combined. However, in this case, there is no similar bill for the Senate. Instead, supporters hope the House bill will be passed by the Senate during its informal session.
“In an informal session, any member can object to something,” Tarr explained. So, the only way anything goes through is by consensus. If any member objects to something coming, it will not appear.”
That means passing a bill during this time can be a challenge, he said. He said that even if it were passed in the Senate, there would still be a number of steps before it reached Governor Charlie Baker’s office for it to be signed into law.
On the other hand, the informal session continues until early January 2023, when lawmakers will be sworn in for the next formal session.
“according to the Massachusetts ConstitutionWe meet every 72 hours. “So, generally in the Senate, there is an informal session every Monday and every Thursday. So, we meet regularly. And that means we have a lot of informal sessions to move this bill.”
Invoice is now in Senate Ways and Means Committeeto which Tar belongs.
“I urge the committee to present the bill positively to the Chamber,” he said. “It’s really important to address the impact of pesticides on our natural environment.”
An opportunity to talk about the problem of rodenticides
Mertz and Hawkins believe the bill is a step in the right direction and gives the state a foundation on which to build. In the meantime, they said, he’s already giving them a check mark in the win column.
“It gives us a great platform to talk about the real impact of these things and what we’re seeing and to reach more people who we hope will make better choices in the future,” said Mertz.
“Even if it didn’t get passed through the Senate, it really made a difference,” Hawkins said.
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