Stop Killing Gophers With Painful and Unethical Poisons

Target: Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks, Alberta, Canada

Goal: Ban the use of strychnine as a pesticide for gopher and ground squirrel control.

Gophers and ground squirrels are seen as a pest and the most common form of eradication is strychnine poisoning. This method is unethical, painful, kills many other species of animals and it should no longer be used.

Strychnine prevents muscles from relaxing once contracted, and causes excruciatingly painful muscle spasms. The animal remains fully conscious while their tightened muscles become exhausted and they suffocate. The animals also suffer internal hemorrhages, and bleeding from gums, feet, and anus.

Strychnine is a very potent chemical that easily poisons the land and other species. Non-target animals are unintentionally affected by inhaling powder that was released into the air, coming in contact with the poison, and eating other animals that were poisoned. Burrowing owls, badgers, weasels, hawks, songbirds, bugs, and mice are some of the many species that have been found unintentionally poisoned by strychnine set out for gophers, not to mention the numerous cases of domestic dogs that are killed each year.

Ground squirrels and gophers are overpopulated in rural areas due to poor farm management practices. Deforestation, poorly managed fields, and the elimination of natural predators are all contributing factors to the overabundance, and it is deplorable that widespread use of a horrific poison is tolerated to control a human-caused problem.

Sign the petition to stop the use of this inhumane and dangerous poison.


Dear Honourable Nixon,

Strychnine should not be used as a pesticide to exterminate gophers and ground squirrels. The out-of-control population of these small rodents is the result of poor land management and it is deplorable that the government allows these animals to die in such a horrible way.

Strychnine inhibits nerves in the body and prevents contracted muscles from relaxing, leading to painful muscle spasms and death by asphyxiation in fully conscious animals. The potent chemical also causes internal hemorrhages and bleeding from the mouth, foot pads, and anus.

Many non-target animals are also killed. Birds and other small mammals are unintentionally poisoned by eating bait laced with strychnine, and predators die from secondhand ingestion. Burrowing owls, badgers, weasels, hawks, songbirds, bugs, and mice have all been found dead or suffering on fields where strychnine bait was applied, and numerous pets have also died from inadvertently coming in contact with it.

Strychnine is an inhumane and dangerous pesticide, and I urge you to ban its widespread use in your jurisdiction.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Carmen Edenhofer



  1. Gloria Navan says:

    This is a very cruel method … you are endangering and killing everything.

  2. Gophers are most certainly not a pest. Each and everyone of these cretins who abuse and kill these poor animals must have the death penalty performed on them. I am ready, willing and alee to help perform this procedure on these evil animal murdering bastards!

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