Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, October 13, 2023


Jonathan Evans, Center for Biological Diversity, (213) 598-1466,
Lisa Owens Viani, Raptors Are The Solution, (510) 292-5095,

California Expands Toxic Rat Poison Ban

Bill to Increase Protections Against Rodenticides Becomes Law

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law today greater protections from toxic rat poisons, which are harmful and deadly for children, pets and wildlife.

The California Ecosystems Protection Act of 2023, or Assembly Bill 1322, will place a moratorium on the first-generation anticoagulant rodenticide diphacinone, a toxic rat poison still on the market today. The legislation expands on an existing moratorium passed in 2020 targeting second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides. Despite the 2020 legislation, wildlife continues to be exposed to rodenticide and suffer from illnesses and death due to unintended poisoning.

“We really needed these protections to ease the needless suffering of pumas, foxes and owls,” said Tiffany Yap, D.Env./Ph.D., a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Rat poison indiscriminately harms animals up and down the food chain, making them more susceptible to disease and causing internal bleeding and death. It’s heartening to know that California will take the necessary steps toward ending this torture.”

A.B. 1322, which is sponsored by the Center and Raptors Are The Solution, contains exemptions for agriculture, water infrastructure, biotech and emergency pest infestations. It offers safeguards from the most toxic rat poisons until state regulators develop stronger restrictions for their use.

“This is a sensible moratorium to address a pervasive and preventable problem,” said Lisa Owens Viani, director of Raptors Are The Solution. “Building on existing legislation might not sound groundbreaking but it will pull the most toxic poisons off the market and encourage more humane ways to control the rodent population. This is the least we can do to protect our pets, family members, and the wildlife we hold dear.”

Some of California’s most iconic wildlife are victims of toxic rat poisons. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has documented unintended poisonings in at least 38 different species in California, including the imperiled San Joaquin kit fox, northern spotted owl and California condor. P-22, the Southern California mountain lion who made headlines for establishing turf at Griffith Park, had long suffered from rodenticide poisoning before he died last year. Earlier this month state regulators decided to formally reevaluate the use of diphacinone because of the substantial increase in wildlife exposure.

Anticoagulant rodenticides also pose a serious risk to people. More than 3,000 cases of human poisonings were reported in 2021 by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, including at least 2,300 involving children.

There are less-toxic rodenticides and a variety of traps to address rodent infestations. To learn more about these and other safer alternatives, visit and

Some of California’s most iconic wildlife, including mountain lions, are victims of toxic rat poisons. Credit: U.S. National Park Service. Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Raptors Are The Solution (“RATS”), a project of Berkeley-based Earth Island Institute, educates people about the dangers of rat poison in the food web and about the ecological role of birds of prey and other wildlife.

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