There are growing calls for hardware giant Bunnings to ban a product that has been a popular buy, especially in the past six months.
Australia’s largest bird conservation group is calling on Bunnings Warehouse to ban a popular poison range from its shelves.
BirdLife Australia has demanded the hardware giant stop selling some rat and mice poison products, claiming they are killing off native birds and wildlife.
Rodenticide sales at Bunnings soared in the first six months of 2021 after eastern Australia became gripped by an extreme mouse plague, resulting in empty shelves across many stores.
But BirdLife Australia claimed some birds of prey, including wedge-tailed eagles, southern boobooks and possibly a species of owl, died after eating rodents that had been poisoned by the products.
It launched a petition calling on Bunnings to stop the sale of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs), which are restricted for sale in many parts of the world, including the US, Canada and parts of Europe.
The petition called out brands such as Talon, Fast Action RatSak, and The Big Cheese Fast Action.
“Owls, eagles, and other birds of prey are unnecessarily dying by ingesting rats and mice that have been poisoned,” the BirdLife Australia petition read.
“Rodenticides are poisons designed to kill pest mice and rats but they have other impacts too.
“Second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGAR) poisons are the worst.
“It is these products that we are asking Bunnings to remove from their shelves.”
BirdLife Australia said the poisons caused the birds to suffer from internal bleeding.
While the petition highlighted that mice and rat poisons were available at various retailers across Australia – including Coles and Woolworths – it targeted Bunnings due to the amount of rodenticide products it sold.
“Bunnings has about half of Australia’s D. I. Y hardware market share and sells a larger variety of second-generation rodenticide products than any other major outlet,” it stated.
“Bunnings can remove a huge source of poison by choosing to take these products off their shelves and instead providing consumers with alternatives that are just as effective.”
In a statement, Bunnings general manager of merchandise Adrian Pearce said staff recently met with BirdLife Australia to hear their concerns.
“We understand there are risks associated with the use of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) for birds and some wildlife, and we proactively promote the safe use of these products and support customers in making informed purchasing decisions,” he said.
“Over recent months we have been working with our suppliers to include additional information on packaging as well as making updates to our website to help customers identify which products are first generation or second generation rodenticides.
“In addition, we are creating further training for our team members to help improve their knowledge about this topic.
“We are also in the process of implementing the separation of first generation and second generation rat poison varieties, along with naturally derived rodenticides, on our shelves to further assist with easier customer product selection.
“We will continue to closely follow the advice of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and work with our suppliers to innovate in this area.”