Management of vertebrate animal pests (rabbits, foxes, wild dogs, feral pigs and pest birds) in Western Australia relies on the use of bait, poison and toxin (bait) products.
Baits, poisons and toxins (baits) for vertebrate animal pests are widely used in agriculture and to protect Western Australia's wildlife and environment. The management of Western Australia’s vertebrate pests such as rabbits, foxes, wild dogs, feral pigs and pest birds relies on the use of these baits.
Ready access to baits for pest animals is essential if the State is to maintain its economic advantage and environmental health. People who use baits are responsible for their safe use. Continued access relies upon the responsible supply and use of these baits by all users, retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers.
Misuse can result in animal welfare issues and harm to non-target animals, and human and environmental health. Therefore, legislative standards are necessary to ensure that everyone continues to benefit from access to vertebrate bait, poison and toxin use into the future.
The Bait and poison directory for vertebrate pests in Western Australia has been compiled by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia.
Private and public land owners and occupiers (landholders) in Western Australia rely on baits to protect their agricultural enterprises from vertebrate animal pests. Landholders access baits from Licenced Retailers (usually Schedule 7 retailers) after completing relevant training and obtaining permits, for example, a baiting and poison permit. Landholders can also employ the services of a licenced pest management technician.
Vertebrate pest animal baits provide benefits to primary production but must be used responsibly to minimise the adverse effects that may be associated with their use. Baits for vertebrate pests are dangerous poisons/toxins. Most are Schedule 6 or 7 poisons under the Poisons Act 1964 and Class 6 toxic substances under the Dangerous Goods Safety Act 2004.
To minimise the adverse effects of these dangerous poisons legislation determines who and how a person may: sell, supply, transport, store, use or dispose of them. Legislation also determines what vertebrate animal pests can be controlled using a bait.
The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) has discontinued manufacture and supply of vertebrate baits, poisons and toxins. Bait supply for landholders is available from commercial suppliers of baits and poisons.
The agricultural distributor 4Farmers will supply the WA market with sodium fluoroacetate (1080) impregnated oat baits and strychnine to control wild dogs, foxes, rabbits and emus.
The Commonwealth govenment, states and territories regulate the use and supply of vertebrate pest baits to minimise risks to human health, the environment, animal welfare and trade. The regulatory framework for managing pesticides and veterinary medicines in Australia is collectively referred to as the National Registration Scheme for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals.
At a national level, pesticides and veterinary medicines must be registered through the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) before they can be legally supplied, sold or used. The APVMA administers the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Code) Act 1994 which controls the import or manufacture of pesticides, their packaging, registration, labelling, wholesale supply and retail supply to end users.
Each state regulates the post-retail sale, transport, storage, use, disposal of baits and poisons and the animal welfare considerations of baits and poisons once they are in the possession of end users. In Western Australia, different government departments administer various Acts and associated regulations to achieve these ends. Table 1 provides a summary of these arrangements.
Establishes membership and functions of the Pesticides Advisory Committee
Regulates: control of use (pesticides and fumigants) issuing of pest management technician licences, business registrations and fumigation site approvals
Regulates supply and use of poisons, schedules chemicals according to their toxicity level
Controls and licenses storage, handling and transport of pesticides that are classified as dangerous goods
Enables Commonwealth legislation that regulates pesticide manufacture, registration, labelling and supply
Regulates safety and health in the workplace, including pesticide use
Prescribes penalties for the use of poisons and describes defences to offences against animals including killing prescribed pests
Describes what a prescribed pest is, prescribes inhumane devices the use of which is an act of cruelty (jawed traps) and defence of use of strychnine on metal-jawed traps
|Regulates the declaration of vertebrate animals as permitted organisms, declared pests or prohibited organisms|
* modified from A guide to the use of pesticides in Western Australia
For vertebrate animal pest control, everyone must ensure they use the most humane method available. Humaneness assessments developed from the model for assessing the relative humaneness of pest animal control methods give an indication of humaneness of control methods for different vertebrate pests.
Animal welfare law: formal legislative requirements
Animal welfare is important to Western Australians. It is an offence to poison an animal.
Defences exist for poisoning under the Animal Welfare Act but a person must be able to prove to the satisfaction of a magistrate that what they did meets the elements of the defence of cruelty to an animal.
Under the Animal Welfare Act it is also a defence against a charge of cruelty (for example, poisoning an animal) for the person to prove:
that the person was acting in accordance with a relevant code of practice listed in Schedule 1 of the Animal Welfare (General) Regulations 2003;
- see DAFWA's animal welfare law web pages for further details on the prescribed codes of practice.
- that the act alleged to have been committed was done while the person was attempting to kill pests; and
- that the person was attempting to kill a pest in a manner that is generally accepted as usual and reasonable for killing pests of the kind the person was attempting to kill; and
- if the animal that was subject of the charge was not a pest that the person took reasonable steps to ensure that the animals other than pests would not be harmed.
Pests under the Animal Welfare (General) Regulations are:
organisms declared under the Biosecurity and Agricultural Management Act 2007 to be prohibited (section 12) or declared pests (section 22) provided the animal:
- is not being kept as a domestic pet
- is not being kept for the purposes of racing, riding or harnessing
- is not being kept for the purpose of confined display or entertainment
- is not being kept as a form of livestock (as that term may be understood by the courts) and
- at the time it was killed was not under the effective control of an owner.
The Western Australian Organism List (WAOL) contains information on the area(s) in which an organism (pest) is declared and what it is declared as.
Under the Animal Welfare Act it is a defence against a charge of cruelty for the use of a prescribed inhumane device on a wild dog (for example, a jawed trap) for the person to prove:
- that the person was a prescribed person or a prescribed class of persons. A prescribed person or class of persons are either:
- the owner, occupier or leasee of an agricultural or pastoral property or their authorised agent; or
- an officer of a commonwealth, State or local government agency, who has responsibility for wild dog control.
- in the prescribed manner. In relation to the use a metal jawed leghold trap (device) if that metal jawed trap is used by the prescribed person or class of persons they must ensure that the trap is bound with cloth containing strychnine to ensure a rapid death for any animal likely to be caught in the trap (Animal Welfare (General) Regulations). A person cannot use this defence in relation to the use of a jawed trap bound with strychnine on any animal other than a wild dog.
Areas in WA where strychnine can be used on a metal jawed trap are listed in schedules 1 and 2 of the Strychnine code of practice.
Under the Poisons Act, chemicals and drugs are allocated to eight Schedules based on the hazard of the chemical and on human toxicity.
Baits for use on vertebrate animal pests are usually assigned to Schedule 6 or Schedule 7. These baits can only be supplied to or used by an authorised person.
- Schedule 6 (POISON): poisons that are available to the public but are of a more hazardous or poisonous nature than those included in Schedule 5.
- Schedule 7 (DANGEROUS POISON): poisons that require special precautions in manufacture, handling, storage or use, or special individual regulations regarding labelling or availability.
Dangerous goods classes
If you are storing or transporting more than specified limits of toxic substances, you will require licences and/or placards. Please refer to the Department of Mines and Petroleum for further information.
Codes of practice for 1080 and strychnine
The codes of practice that legislate how 1080 and strychnine can be supplied and used in WA are:
- Code of practice for the safe use and management of 1080 in WA
- Code of practice on the safe use and management of strychnine
Use or supply of baits
1080 and strychnine are the most common active ingredients in vertebrate pest bait and poison products in WA. 1080 and strychnine are Schedule 7 poisons under the Poisons Act and also class 6 toxic substances under the Dangerous Goods Safety Act. Other Schedule 7 poisons registered for vertebrate pest control are phosphine, chloropicrin and 4-aminopyridine. Access to phosphine, chloropicrin and 4-aminopyridine for vertebrate pest control is very limited in WA.
Less commonly used bait and poison products for vertebrate pests in WA such as pindone and alpha-chloralose are Schedule 6 poisons under the Poisons Act.
The following information are the legislative requirements that landholders, retailers, manufacturers or wholesalers need to meet before selling, transporting, storing or using bait products.
1080 and strychnine (Schedule 7 poisons) use is restricted and in some cases prohibited by law and confined to certain areas of the State. Landholder access (including through a licenced pest management technician) to other dangerous Schedule 7 poisons such as phosphine and 4-aminopyridine is also highly restricted.
Before using 1080 or strychnine, appropriate approved user training needs to be completed, and appropriate permit(s) are required to purchase these chemicals. To obtain a permit an approved user must demonstrate to an authorising officer (usually a DAFWA biosecurity officer) that they understand and can carry out their responsibilities safely and that the proposed use does not place human health and non-target species at risk. This is done through a risk assessment process.
An approved user is a person identified on a permit as one who will possess and use 1080 baits (or strychnine) in a specified area of land (Code of practice for the safe use and management of 1080 in Western Australia, Strychnine code of practice).
Approved users may hire the services of a licenced pest management technician to make some bait products (for example, to mix One-Shot with filler oats).
Landholders who have not undertaken approved user training for 1080 or strychnine use may apply for a permit to bait with 1080 or strychnine, but may not access and use these poisons personally. Only approved users can access and lay poison baits. If there is no approved user associated with the property it will be necessary to employ the services of a licenced pest management technician to control declared vertebrate pests on their property using these poisons.
Approved user training contact
Approved user training is available through your local biosecurity officer, or the DAFWA Regulatory Standards and Training Unit on +61 (0)8 9363 4046 or email@example.com.
Where landholders can obtain bait products
Bait products can be accessed from licensed Schedule 7 retailers or licenced pest management technicians. Licenced Schedule 7 retailers are rural merchandisers who have appropriate licences to sell Schedule 7 poisons. Licenced pest management technicians may also hold a Schedule 7 poison licence.
Refer to the manufacturers/distributors heading below for links to the bait products that rural merchandisers and licenced pest management technicians can access in WA.
Further information on 1080 and strychnine can be found through:
An approved pastoralist is a pastoralist who has been authorised to possess, store, transport and use 1080 products for the non-commercial manufacture of field prepared baits (Code of practice for the safe use and management of 1080 in Western Australia). Approved pastoralist bait manufacture is confined to pastoral areas of WA.
To become an approved pastoralist, approved user and approved pastoralist training is required. The pastoralist can then apply for and obtain the appropriate permit(s) to purchase products and make baits.
To obtain a permit, an approved pastoralist must demonstrate to the authorising officer (usually a DAFWA biosecurity officer) that they understand and can carry out their responsibilities safely, and that their proposed use does not place human health or non-target species at risk. This is done through a risk assessment process.
Approved pastoralist training contact
To find out when the next approved pastoralist training is taking place please contact the DAFWA Regulatory Standards and Training Unit on +61 (0)8 9363 4046 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Checklist: to access bait products
|Landholder: no training||Landholder: approved user||Approved pastoralist|
| || |
Note: some products need to be mixed and/or supplied by a licensed pest management technician
Note: must be in a pastoral area
An authorising officer is a person who is trained to assess 1080 and strychnine applications and issue permits on behalf of an authorised department such as the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (Code of practice for the safe use and management of 1080 in Western Australia).
Most Biosecurity Officers within DAFWA are Authorising Officers.
Licensed pest management technicians
Licenced pest management technicians (LMPTs) are commercial pesticide users who apply pesticides and fumigants for remuneration. LPMTs must complete training and attain specific units of competency as part of their licensing requirements.
Details on becoming a LPMT can be found on the WA Department of Health's pesticide licences web pages.
Licensed retailers (licenced Schedule 7 retailer)
A licensed retailer (usually a rural merchandiser, trader or retailer licenced to sell a poison such as a specific Schedule 7 poison) is an entity licensed under the Poisons Act to supply poison products by retail sale. Licenced retailers do not need any specific training but must hold the appropriate licences/permits and keep appropriate records of the baits or poisons they are selling.
Licenced retailers can source vertebrate animal pest baits and poison products from manufacturers or distributors in Australia (or overseas).
A licenced manufacturer or wholesaler/distributor is an entity licenced under the Poisons Act to manufacture poison products or to sell or supply by wholesale poison products. Licenced manufacturers/wholesalers do not need specific training but must hold the appropriate licences/permits and keep appropriate records of the baits or poisons they are supplying.
Manufacturers/distributors of baits
Manufacturers/distributors of registered baits can be found on the APVMA's Public Chemical Registration Information System (PUBCRIS) or Permits database.
By searching PUBCRIS using the advanced search feature, users can find products for vertebrate pests, vertebrate poisons and products containing a specific active ingredient.
Before using any pesticide, ensure you have read the product label and details to determine if that product may be used in WA for the pest or situation you want to use it for.
Note: some manufacturers only produce product for their own use and do not retail their products. Never use a registered chemical product contrary to the label.
PUBCRIS generated lists of manufacturers/distributors of baits for some declared vertebrate pests can be found in the bait product web pages listed below.
Bait products registered for use in WA
Products registered by the APVMA can be found on the Public Chemical Registration Information System (PUBCRIS).
The web pages listed below contain tables of bait products registered for some declared vertebrate pests in WA (as at July 2014). Manufacturers/distributors of products are also listed.
It is best to also refer back to the APVMA website for the most current details. Product information may change, such as the removal of some products.
- 1080 and strychnine bait products
- Rabbit control: bait products
- Pest bird control: bait/toxin products
Adverse experience reporting
The APVMA reviews registered products to ensure they remain effective and safe to use. Please report adverse experiences including lack of efficacy, off-target poisoning or secondary poisoning, injury or sensitivity reactions to the APVMA through their agricultural chemical adverse experience reporting program (AERP).
For further information on baits, poisons and toxins for vertebrate animal pests please refer to:
- individual pages on baits and poisons and pest animals on the DAFWA website
- the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website
- NSW Department of Environment and Primary Industries document on Pesticides used in the management of vertebrate pests in Australia
- the Department of Health document A guide to the use of pesticides in Western Australia.