ALDF, Environmentalists Demand Public Records Regarding Poison Dump on Bay Area’s Farallon Islands

Posted on May 14, 2014

Animal Group Files Freedom of Information Act Request to Investigate Millions of Taxpayer Dollars Spent on Eradication of Wildlife

For immediate release:

Megan Backus, ALDF

farallons-cc-images-by-john-k-article-image2SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the Bay Area-based national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a public records request with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) for documents pertaining to the contracts made with Island Conservation, a nonprofit who has been paid millions of taxpayer dollars to dump rat poison on various islands in an effort to eradicate non-native species of rodents to protect specific bird species. The requests were made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) out of growing concern that Island Conservation may soon drop a controversial poison known as brodifacoum on the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco, perhaps executing the eradication this fall. The highly persistent poison is known to be consumed by non-targeted species, who slowly die, and are consumed by other wildlife, resulting in the secondary poisoning of wildlife and contamination of the food chain. ALDF, along with co-petitioners Sonce Devries, a retired USFWS biologist, and Maggie Sergio, an environmental writer, suspect a mismanagement of funds and conflicts of interest between FWS and Island Conservation that would question the legitimacy of the agency contracts.

Brodifacoum is the one of the deadliest pesticides to wildlife since DDT, and was recently banned for the consumer market by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. The California state legislature is currently considering “Assembly Bill 2657” which would ban the use of such “anticoagulant rodenticides” in any state/national park, state or federal wildlife refuge, or state conservancy.

According to public documents, the FWS plans to pay Island Conservation approximately $1.3 million to drop 1.3 metric tons of brodifacoum on the Farallon Islands—a project which was opposed by the American Bird Conservancy, The Ocean Foundation, National Sierra Club, Pelagic Shark Research Foundation, and WildCare. The Environmental Protection Agency issued an 18 page comment letter expressing serious concerns if this project is allowed to move forward. Although the FWS claim this poison drop is urgently needed to protect a shorebird species known as Ashy Storm Petrel at risk for extinction, just last October the agency declined to list the bird as endangered. In 2008, the Ornithological Council created a highly critical report of the Rat Island, Alaska poison drop, in which they found nearly 500 dead birds, including 46 bald eagles, eight months after the eradication. Other studies indicate a 38% failure rate of such controversial methods. ALDF will be asking the Farallon Islands National Marine Sanctuary to oppose this unethical poison drop and continue to explore other alternatives including contraception technology currently being tested.

“With massive death counts and millions of taxpayer dollars at stake, government transparency is essential,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “ALDF looks forward to a swift and thorough response to shed light on the decision making process for such an extreme action in one of the jewels of California’s National Wildlife Refuge system.”

Copies of the FOIA petition available upon request.

20 thoughts on “ALDF, Environmentalists Demand Public Records Regarding Poison Dump on Bay Area’s Farallon Islands

  1. Patricia L. Hadsall says:

    All information needs to be known by all parties, especially with respect to dumping these kinds of poisons. If all of these conservancies are against it, then something is definitely wrong.

  2. Kari donatone says:


  3. Donna pope says:

    No rat poison!!!!

  4. S Logan says:

    The FWS is out of control!!! And needs to be reigned in! They kill more animals than they conserve!

  5. Brandywine Kopatich says:

    Seriously? This is so stupid that I have no words. Common sense. . Where did it go?

  6. Linda Weiland says:

    They dump here because it’s FREE. As with so many other issues, GREED is killing this planet.

  7. Deborah Diaz says:

    Disclose ALL information including all investigation into alternate solutions to eradicate the rats.

  8. Linda Weiland says:

    The above comment was meant for another post. Anyway, money is being exchanged to eradicate “unwanted” species without them seeing, or caring about, the big picture. The animals up the food chain will die too. This is a ludicrous idea, you can be sure some asshole is profiting greatly by it. NOT cool.

    1. Ginger Mudry says:

      Completely agree!

      1. Renate says:

        agree that it is insane to kill wildlife with rat poison, which consequently will poison the food chain. What idiots are on this job, crazy, they need to replaced from humans and with humans.

        1. Renate says:

          these positions need to be replaced with humans.

  9. Joan Provencher says:

    Please do not drop the rat poison on the Farallon Islands.
    It is important to do what will improve the situation. Causing so much harm to the environment and other species by direct and indirect means cannot justify the benefit of killing the rats for the benefit of one species. Please do not do this!!!

  10. marcia Pedrick says:

    I am so outraged at the very suggestion of these postings, “Eradicate wildlife, with rat poison, in the Farallon Islands”!
    Absolutely everything is WRONG with that!! NO!!

    1. Renate says:

      I am totally agree.

  11. Linda Webb says:

    this is really stupid…dump the poison over here, the birds won’t eat it… yeah right…

    1. Renate says:

      it is a non ending chain reaction.

  12. Ginger Mudry says:

    Poisoning the environment is no way to protect it! This is a terrible idea. There is no way to know the full extent of the damage this may cause until it’s too late. When we see all forms of wildlife dieing and are unable to do anything about, the rodents will seem like a small environmental problem in comparision. Please reconsider this insane idea.

    1. Renate says:

      this need to stop ASAP and solutions in a environmentally friendly way must be thought about.I am agree that the damage that the rat poison has done already is many fold worse then the rodens. The rosens could be rather nice companion,instat to have everywhere dead animals and maybe dead people.

  13. cheryl says:


    1. Renate says:

      yes you right, it is unthinkable that this could have happened.

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