Animals and poison do not mix either. We cannot understand how and why local councils, the police and the government continue to be so complacent about how toxic agents are continuously misused in public places, where they pose a significant risk to children and animals.
Statistically, rat poisoning cases in humans are demonstrated to be most risky to children, with those under 6 years old being the most at risk at 97% of rat poisoning cases in the US. We couldn't find any reliable statistics on how many animals get poisoned accidentally, because any available statistics largely only include reported cases and are unlikely to include every animal that was exposed to the poison and was effected by it.
The reported cases of public gardens and children's play areas treated with rodenticides and snail bait is worryingly on the rise. Birkirakara had a very publicized incident of this sort, while we are corresponding with a concerned citizen about the same happening in Sliema. If this is not the last straw that the government needs to finally restrict the use and handling of such products to professionals with the right equipment and a modicum of social responsibility. then we will probably have to wait until a child is finally killed by one of these poisons. None of you want to be the unlucky parent who loses a child to something so easily preventable.
We are not saying this so we can dance on some kid's grave one day saying "We told you so!"
We would rather that didn't have to happen, so we are stating unequivocally, if it happens the government should be held accountable for not taking action to sort this matter out when it had the chance to prevent it.
- Ban over the counter sale of rodenticide and snail bait.
- Restrict use only to licensed pest controllers.
- Impose mandatory signage where pesticides are being used which clearly inform anyone present of which pesticides are being used, exactly where and by who, including contact information.
- Set up a national pesticide safety committee to guide national policy, guidelines for safe use, and review applications for licences and new products.
- Impose fines for irresponsible use of pesticides.
- Over the counter sale of such poisons allows any Tom, Dick and Harry to walk out the shop with lethal chemicals. If that doesn't worry you, please check yourself.
- Licensed pest controllers should know very well how the poison works on both target species and non-target species, thus being the most well informed on how they can and should be used safely.
- Such signage would force the user to keep track of every place where pesticides were placed and therefore be able to find them/check them when asked to. It would also provide information to any visitors who do not wish for them or their children or pets to be poisoned, as well as how to contact the contracted pest controller if equipment is damaged and exposure has become likely.
- A national pesticide safety committee with medical doctors, veterinary surgeons, animal welfare activists and pest controllers, alongside other appointed persons, would be able to draw on a variety of expertise and knowledge to inform decisions that are balanced and reasoned.
- Fines help deter people from breaking the law, while we would advocate prison sentences for those whose illegal behavior does end in accidental poisoning of others.
Know of another public place where poison has been used irresponsibly? Comment below with pictures and location. Please! Help us raise awareness of how big a problem this is becoming.