The Rodenticide Reduction Sequence

The Rodenticide Reduction Sequence is an investigation by Rethink Priorities staff members Holly Elmore, William McAuliffe, and Hannah McKay, into the possibilities of reducing the use of poisons to control “pest” commensal rodent populations. Part 1, The Rodent Birth Control Landscape describes the state of current rodent pest control practices, offering both best humane practices and compromise solutions that at least reduce cruelty and that many rodenticide users may be more open to implementing, especially recommending EPA-approved rat birth control ContraPest. Part 2, Eradicating rodenticides from U.S. pest management is not as practical as we thought, investigates why the status quo of rodenticide use is what it is, featuring more of the perspective of the pest management industry, and what we may have gotten wrong in the first report. Part 3, Paths to reducing rodenticide use in the U.S. (coming soon!) covers interventions to reduce rodenticide use, with our top recommendations being investing in the development of better rodent birth control formulations and digital campaigns to raise awareness about the harms of rodenticides. [part 4] is not due until the end of 2023, but will report on a focus group we conducted in collaboration with Che Green to understand how residential consumers respond to different types of anti-rodenticide messaging. Overall, we hope to highlight rodenticide reduction as one concrete wild animal welfare intervention, and wild animal birth control as a neglected and tractable research area.

The entire project and all supplementary materials can be found on Open Science Framework