Raptors Are The Solution

Raptors Are the Solution (RATS) educates people about the ecological role of raptors and the enormous danger to raptors and all wildlife, as well as pets and children, from the widespread use and availability of rat poisons. RATS partners with other nonprofits, agencies, scientists, cities, and others to work toward eliminating toxic rodenticides from the food web. We want to see all anticoagulant and other poisonous rodenticides taken off the market and no longer used by pest control companies due to their dangers to children, pets, and wildlife.

RATS is a project of Earth Island Institute, rated a Four Star Charity by Charity Navigator.

You can help us spread the word! Check out our free educational materials.

We like to tell our story in many different ways. Watch our cool “Claymation” video, “Raptor Blues,” by the talented young filmmaker Ian Timothy.


Second-generation anticoagulant products designed to kill rats and mice are also killing birds of prey, pets like dogs and cats, and many species of wildlife, including several endangered species. Recently, the mate of famous New York City red-tailed hawk Pale Male was confirmed to have died from ingesting a poisoned rat. These products are also poisoning children, even when the products are used in accordance with the directions on the packages. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, between 1999 and 2003, 25,549 children under the age of six had poisoning symptoms after exposure to rodenticides. Seventy-two percent had been exposed to a second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide, brodifacoum, the active ingredient in d-Con. These problems continue. See http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/11/HO9Q1ODGD6.DTL&type=green and http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/18/HO9Q1OGR0P.DTL

In 2008, the U.S. EPA determined that various rodenticides posed an “unreasonable risk” to children, pets, and wildlife. The EPA gave the companies three years to switch to safer products, but three companies—Reckitt-Benckiser, Spectrum, and Liphatech—refused to do so and have tied up the EPA’s cancellation process in lawsuits. As of February 2013, Spectrum and Liphatech have complied, but Reckitt-Benckiser has vowed to continue to fight the EPA–it doesn’t even want to make its packages tamper-proof for children. RB’s products are sold under the D-Con brand. Second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide products contain brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone, and difenacoum, all rodenticide products not packaged with bait stations. These products contain “second generation” anticoagulant compounds that can poison pets and children and cause hawks, owls, and other wildlife to bleed to death.

At the end of May (2014), Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of d-CON rat poison products, finally agreed–after six years of fighting with U.S. EPA–to remove *some* of its most dangerous poisons from over-the-counter sales as of March 2015. But that leaves those products on the market for yet another 10 months, which will undoubtedly lead to more wildlife and pet deaths. Additionally, several of its (and other manufacturers’) dangerous anticoagulants and other types of rat poison remain on the market, allowed by the U.S. EPA. We are highly concerned about the loopholes that allow these products to remain on the shelves as well as by the fact that EPA allows the pest control industry to continue to use the same poisons it has pulled off of consumer shelves. You can read more about the products that are currently on the market, allowed by EPA, here.

The state of California has banned over-the-counter sales of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides to consumers effective July 1, 2014. While it’s a great first step, it will not solve the problem with wildlife and pet poisonings in California. Read more… Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of d-CON products, sued the state over the proposed new regs. Read our joint press release.

RATS was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2011 after Cooper’s hawks began falling dead on the streets from eating poisoned rats, RATS, with help from our many partners, is working with cities and counties throughout California to encourage them to adopt resolutions discouraging businesses from selling dangerous rodenticides. Read some of the city resolutions here.