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about poisons

Poisons are still legal in Canada?

 These poisons cause severe pain, uncontrollable seizures and death by asphyxiation.


poisons are still legal in canada?



Sodium fluoroacetate, also known as Compound 1080, is still registered in Canada for the purpose of killing wolves and coyotes. It is currently used in Alberta, including several areas that offer bounty payments for wolves and coyotes.

Poisoning continues despite the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association publicly condemning the use of inhumane pesticides since 2014, emphasizing that Compound 1080 (and strychnine) cause severe pain, uncontrollable seizures, and death by asphyxiation.  ​

What are the risks?

Lethal doses result in heart attacks or suffocation during violent and prolonged seizures. 

What are the risks?

Compound 1080 is among the most highly toxic poisons for all warm blooded animals.  It is labeled as a "super-poison" by the US Environmental Protection Agency (1995), and known as a Category 1a "EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS" poison according to the World Health Organization (2019), which is the highest level.

As a convulsant, even non-lethal doses can cause vomiting, dizziness, and seizures. Lethal doses result in heart attacks or suffocation during violent and prolonged seizures.

Each poison is hidden in baits designed to attract the target wildlife. Clinical symptoms are delayed after ingesting Compound 1080. It can take several hours for victims to display symptoms, which include repeated seizures, vomiting, and severe agitation.  Symptoms can last for more than a day. Wolves, coyotes, and other meat-eaters are highly mobile, capable of travelling great distances in a short time, spreading these poisons far and wide before succumbing to death. Scavengers that feed on poisoned victims then become poisoned themselves.


Targeted Wildlife – Government programs provide this poison to staff personnel as well as farmers and grazing lease operators to kill wild canids (dog family) where predation of livestock has occurred. Health Canada allows the Government of Alberta permits to intentionally poison wolves and coyotes with poison-laced meat baits (eg. carcasses and/or chicken heads). But meat baits attract many animals on the landscape, and it's unlikely that the "offending" individual will be the one to consume the poisoned bait. Non-target individuals and unintended species are at risk of primary poisoning from baits, as well as secondary poisoning from eating poisoned carcasses. This unethical form of wildlife management is justified by the government where conflicts among wolves/coyotes and livestock occur. However, there is no clear evidence that lethal removal of predators reduces future conflicts, and this action can even create increased conflict levels. Additionally, there are several non-lethal methods of prevention that are evidenced to reduce conflict levels. Relying on poison deters from the time and resources needed to responsibly limit conflict levels, athough where predators and livestock overlap, there will always be occasional losses. No animal deserves the fate that Compound 1080 delivers.

Pets – Compound 1080 is used to kill coyotes and wolves because it is known to be particularly toxic to canine species, including dogs. Over 100 dogs have been poisoned by strychnine in Canada since the 1990s.

People – These poisons are all considered potential weapons for chemical warfare; they are soluble in water and virtually impossible to detect. A single teaspoon of Compound 1080 could kill 100 people. Strychnine has been used in human torture and genocides, including those taking place in Nazi Germany.

Non-Target Wildlife – The highly toxic nature of Compound 1080 results in the poisoning of non-target species, including species at risk and dogs. 


Health Canada provides a FALSE fact-claim when suggesting that Compound 1080 is "selective" for poisoning wolves and coyotes. Compound 1080 is considered a “broad-spectrum poison” by interfering with the Kreb’s cycle; a fundamental metabolic pathway. Small mammals and birds are highly susceptible

In addition, 1080 is historically believed to be at least partly responsible for the decline of several species at risk in North America, including the burrowing owl (Butts 1973), swift fox  (Burnett 1989; Ginsberg and MacDonald 1990; COSEWIC 2009)*, California condor (Hegdal et al. 1986)*, and black-footed ferret (Defenders of Wildlife 1982)*. (For full references, see Indiscriminate, Inhumane, and Irresponsible; Compound 1080 is no longer an acceptable form of management.

Poisons do not discriminate. Poison baits attract many different species which consume them. Additionally, Compound 1080 is referred to as a “food chain killer” because the carcasses of poisoned victims are toxic themselves, and these are often scavenged by other animals. 







Species at Risk in Canadian wildlife poison use zones include:

According the Government of Canada, the purposes of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) are"to prevent wildlife species in Canada from disappearing, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated (no longer exist in the wild in Canada), endangered, or threatened as a result of human activity, and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened." And yet, pesticide (poison) use continues to be sanctioned, putting many species we seek to protect at further risk of extinction.


These poisons are being used in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Where are they being used?

Alberta is the last province authorized under Health Canada to use this poison. However, Compound 1080 is still showing up where it is not legal, reinforcing concerns surrounding misuse of these highly dangerous toxins. ​


Compound 1080 is showing up in B.C., as detected by toxicology tests of dog victims  in 2018 and 2020, despite the province not having a permit.  This is illegal and indicates that this highly toxic substance is not managed responsibly.

Why are they being used?

Baits are set to kill wolves, bears, coyotes under the guise of caribou conservation and livestock protection...

Why are they being used?

Alberta’s use of the inhumane poison Compound 1080 to kill wolves and coyotes under the guise of livestock protection remains highly controversial.  Compound 1080 causes extreme suffering to wild and domestic canids each year, as well as many non-target animals.  Concerns are mounting as this is not only a question of animal welfare, but also one of ecological integrity and safety. 


In Alberta, the government is allowed to use poison in an attempt to boost prey populations such as moose, elk or caribou despite research indicating that killing predators to increase ungulate populations never works in the long-term. 


Farmers are given these poisons to set baits with when they become concerned about losing livestock to wolves or coyotes Sometimes the wildlife manager will set the baits.  This practice is outdated: scientific evidence supports the efficacy of non-lethal prevention-based measures over lethal removal of carnivores when it comes to reducing conflicts among livestock, people, and predators.


Are these poisons necessary?

Non-lethal options can be more effective, and even more economical.



are these poisons necessary?


Inhumane actions are never necessary, despite shareholder demands.  In this case, poisons can even lead to or exacerbate conflicts.

Killing wolves and coyotes disrupts their family-based social structure and can exacerbate livestock depredation. Non-lethal options can be more effective, and even more economical to farmers.

Chemical companies that profit from selling these poisons work hard to convince decision makers and farmers that their chemicals are necessary, when in fact there are better solutions for farmers and wildlife.  

What regulations are in place to protect us?

What regulations are in place to protect us?

Pesticides are subjected to a risk assessment and a brief public consultation period before being registered in Canada. They are re-assessed every 15 years to consider new science and low-risk alternatives.


In 2024 Health Canada cancelled the registration of strychnine, and all associated end-use products for sale and use in Canada. According to Health Canada:


Ironically, Health Canada has failed to recognize that risks presented by strychnine products are the same as those presented by Compound 1080. 

Public engagement can help determine that this highly dangerous predicide not be renewed.


Strychnine is due for federal re-evaluation now..

Very few.

Re-evaluations of strychnine and Compound 1080, as being used to target predators, began in 2021.  In it's final decision, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency announced that it planned continue to discontinue the use of strychnine, but continue to register the use of Compound 1080, despite recognizing widescale misuse and noncompliance at the provincial level. 

Many of us involved in the movement to end the use of predator poisons were shocked at this news, and have continued to engage on this issue.  All voices are needed.

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