MEDIA RELEASE: Super-Toxic Rat Poisons Banned in California by Governor Newsom to Protect Wild Animals

MEDIA RELEASE: Super-Toxic Rat Poisons Banned in California by Governor Newsom to Protect Wild Animals

San Rafael, Calif. (September 29, 2020) — In Defense of Animals is applauding Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing AB 1788, which bans the use of deadly rodenticides, otherwise known as super-toxic rat poisons, throughout California. This legislation will protect countless wild animals, many of whom are threatened and endangered, from suffering slow, inhumane deaths.

Thousands of In Defense of Animals supporters took actions to support a ban on the most deadly rodenticide poisons. These chemicals move through the food chain, killing mice and rats along with all animals who depend upon them for survival including mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, hawks, and owls. This new law closes a loophole that allowed unrestricted commercial use of rat poisons. 

“This bill is truly a life saver for wild animals in California who have been the victims of cruel rodenticides for far too long,”  said Lisa Levinson, Wild Animal Campaigner for In Defense of Animals. “We thank Governor Newsom, our colleagues in the AB 1788 coalition who worked tirelessly to achieve this victory, and all the In Defense of Animals supporters who have taken action.”


Two mountain lions among many others who suffered and endured agonizing deaths from rodenticide poisoning in the Santa Monica Mountains of California. Photos: National Park Service


While there are a number of different types of rodenticides, the worst available are second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides, which include brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone and difenacoum.

These poisons aren’t just deadly, but cause any animal who consumes them to suffer a slow and painful death from internal bleeding. These poisons also work slowly, which allows victims to consume large amounts over a period of time. After they die, they become a highly toxic meal for predators and scavengers as they make their way through the food chain, posing a serious risk to wild and companion animals.

They’ve also been widely documented to cause other problems for wild animals, including chronic mange.

In Defense of Animals has worked with a statewide coalition for two years to pass this crucial, life-saving law. Now, four of the six most toxic rodenticides are banned in California. In Defense of Animals is also grateful to Assemblymembers Richard Bloom and Laura Friedman, and Sen. Henry Stern who co-authored this much-needed bill.

In Defense of Animals will continue to work to ban the remaining two rodenticides that kill wild animals across the state, but this law will greatly reduce all-too-frequent reports of rodenticide-related wild animal deaths.

“Wild mammals now make up just 4% of all mammal biomass on Earth,” continued Levinson. “We will lose wild species forever unless more politicians follow in Governor Newsom’s footsteps to protect wild animals and their habitats if we are to have any chance of halting the sixth mass extinction.”

Learn more and take urgent action for wild animals:


Contact: Lisa Levinson,, 215-620-2130

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In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 37-year history of protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats through education, campaigns, and hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.


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