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Groups Urge New York To Ban Rat Poisons That Kill Wildlife

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Six groups are petitioning New York State to ban a rat poison that is killing wildlife that feed on the tainted rodents.

The petition seeks to ban what are known as second-generation anticoagulants.

“The problem with these particular types of rodenticides is that they’re not fast-acting and so the animal will stay alive for several days and will most often keep returning to that same bait,” Christopher Amato, staff attorney at Earth Justice, told 1010 WINS. “The result is that they accumulate really high levels of these poisons in their system.”

The wildlife and conservation groups claim the rat poisonings have killed animals from more than 30 species. The groups cite necropsy reports prepared by the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Amato said statistics from a 15 to 20-year study period show there have been at least 50 documented instances of red-tailed hawks and 36 great horned owls dying from exposure to this type of rodenticide.

“When a bird of prey consumes that animal that has had repeated exposures to that bait, that bird of prey in turn consumes a really high level of this anticoagulant poison, which then causes the bird of prey to hemorrhage internally,” Amato said.

The Parks Department said the current citywide protocol is to suspend rodenticides during the nesting period of breeding red-tailed hawks in or near a park.

As CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport reported, Amato has called on the State DEC  to take action against the use of these rodenticides.

“There are other safer alternatives that don’t post the same set of risks,” he said.

Amato said there are alternative pesticides available to control rodent populations, including neurotoxins and other types of similar anticoagulant rodenticides that work faster and don’t create the same opportunity for repeated trips to the same bait station.

The DEC released the following statement regarding the use of these pesticides:

“DEC supports EPAs efforts to develop a nationwide approach to restrict the use of second-generation anti-coagulent rodenticides.”

The department said that they plan to follow the issue closely.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)