Killing Fields

Who authorised the use of poison on public land?

We do not want the action to be completed on Wednesday 28th April as currently planned.

Warwick District Council applaud themselves on their ecological scruples in erecting fencing to protect nesting birds on St. Mary’s Lands.  Yet, on the other hand, they are allowing an extremely toxic substance to be placed very near the nesting site with a notice marked by a skull and crossbones which states “Very toxic gases. Danger to life”. (see pic)

  • The substance is phostoxin which is used to kill rabbits, moles and rats and Rentokill state, “the phosphine gas which it liberates is lethal to all animals at low concentrations in the air in nests, warrens and burrows.  Children, domestic and farm animals should be kept away from the treated areas for at least 2 days to prevent any possibility of the tablets being dug up whilst they are active.”  As well as rabbits and moles, other small mammals such as hedgehogs, voles and field mice will be at risk and predators such as hawks could ingest the poisoned carcasses. Ironically the ground nesting birds that WDC purport to protect will also be vulnerable.  It is entirely possible that this poison could kill foxes whose natural behaviour is to dig the ground and it is now their breeding season.  The warning notice also includes danger to domestic animals and dog walkers in particular should beware.

Have WDC shot themselves in the foot by feeding the nesting birds with £500 of bird seed per year and thereby attracted rats?  The WDC rat officer advises feeding birds will always attract rats and now there appears to be a serious problem.  It is never wise to interfere with the balance of nature, even with good intentions. 

The Owl Trust recommend that poisons should only be used as a very last resort where non-toxic and less-toxic methods have been deployed.  They state that sustainable controlcan only be achieved by reducing the rodent carrying capacity of the environment, principally by reducing food and harbourage.  They offer ten rodent control methods which are more natural and humane.

Questions also arise that this substance could find its way into the water table which is under St. Mary’s Lands and enter Gog Brook?  Dogs and children play in the Brook!  Could our drinking water possibly be eventually contaminated?

It would appear that Warwick District Council have contracted this work on behalf of the Racecourse who are experiencing problems with rats but this is a public open space currently being enjoyed by hundreds of people on a daily basis.  Isn’t the safety of people, dogs and the wonderful wildlife on St. Mary’s Lands more important?  This is irresponsible and an ecological disaster waiting to happen. 

A superior method of control, if it is required as no members have reported any evidence of rats in the area, is to remove the food. So please empty the waste bins every day to reduce the rats.