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Scientists speak out against the use of strychnine in experimental studies

By July 16, 2015Recent News

In a misguided attempt to increase caribou population numbers, the Canadian government has been killing wolvesHervieux et al., a group of scientists in western Alberta, Canada used strychnine baits to kill wolves, hoping to decrease predation on caribou.

Although strychnine poisoning was a method commonly used in the past to kill predators like wolves, today that practice has been abandoned for the most part because of the excessive suffering it causes animals. It was officially banned in the United States in 1972 and by the European Union in 2006.

Scientists Gilbert Proulx, Ryan K. Brook, Marc Cattet, Chris Darimont and Living with Wolves’ Board Member Paul C. Paquet believe that it is unacceptable to use strychnine in experimental studies and conservation programs. They’ve published a paper in the journal Environmental Conservation explaining why.

In the paper they do not address Hervieux et al.‘s claim that “wolf populations need to be reduced to promote woodland caribou recovery.” Instead they focus on showing that “the use of strychnine in wildlife research and management programs is biologically and ethically unacceptable.”

Strychnine is unacceptable, they argue, as a means to kill wolves because it is:

1) inhumane
2) in contravention of animal welfare guidelines
3 non-selective

Read more about why Gilbert Proulx, Paul Paquet and other reputable scientists believe that strychnine should not be used to manage wolves: