Bob Duff

Senate Majority Leader

Bob Duff

Standing Up For You!

February 27, 2024

On Wednesday, Feb. 28, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) will testify during a hearing of the General Assembly’s Environment Committee in favor of a bill to restrict the use and sale of certain types of rat poison in an effort to protect hawks and other birds of prey.

Last summer, Senator Duff saw first-hand the harmful impact that rodent poison can have on birds when he found an incapacitated Cooper’s hawk on his front yard while walking his dog, Molly. Senator Duff recognized that the bird was in distress and contacted Christine’s Critters, a Weston-based nonprofit group that rescues and rehabilitates birds of prey.

The hawk has since made a full recovery and has been released back into the wild. Not all birds exposed to the poison — called anticoagulant rodenticides — are so lucky.

“While I’m grateful that Christine’s Critters was able to nurse the bird back to health, this incident reinforced my views on how rodenticide can impact wildlife,” Senator Duff said. “House Bill 5217 is a good first step, however, Connecticut needs to completely ban these products. The harmful effects of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides far exceed their benefit.”

The pesticides are designed to impede a rodent’s ability to clot blood, block access to key nutrients, and result in hemorrhaging and death in targeted species. Unfortunately, these toxins remain in the affected rodent’s carcass, which sometimes poisons the larger predators that eat them.

Studies suggest the problem is widespread. About 68% of red-tailed hawks tested by researchers at Cornell University were found to have anticoagulant rodenticide in their systems, according to a 2022 study published in Ecotoxicology.

The bill would ban the sale and distribution of the more-hazardous second-generation anticoagulants. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the second-generation poisons often take several days to kill a rodent, which gives pests more time to feed on the poison and results in a carcass that may contain many times a lethal dose.

The proposal before the Environment Committee is similar to legislation adopted by the state of California in 2020. California expanded its ban on anticoagulant rodenticides last year through legislation, which broadened the law to include first-generation anticoagulants.