Avitrol is used as a chemical frightening agent to remove pest birds from a given location. Avitrol as applied is a chemically treated grain bait. The active ingredient in Avitrol baits, 4-aminopyridine, is an acute oral toxicant which acts on the central nervous system and the motor nervous system. Its action on the motor nervous system usually causes behaviors characteristic of those seen in an epileptic seizure. Birds eating the treated bait will be affected in a manner that, varying by species, will artificially cause them to emit distress and alarm cries and visual displays used by their species when they are frightened or injured. This may include flying erratically, vocalizing, trembling, dilation of the pupils and other symptoms indicative of loss of motor control. This will frighten the flock and cause it to leave the site. In laboratory testing, if the dose is lethal, death will usually occur within an hour following administration. If the dose is sub-lethal, there will be a recovery period which may be as short as 4 to 5 hours. Surviving birds have no lasting effects from 4-aminopyridine.

By limiting the amount of bait available to relatively few birds, the remainder of the flock can be frightened away from most sites with a minimum of mortality.

Please note that the active ingredient in Avitrol, 4-aminopyridine, is a potassium (k) channel blocker and the birds affected are not in pain as concluded through an independent study by renowned animal welfare advocate Dr.Harry C. Rowsell in his Assessment of Humaneness of Vertebrate Pesticides report. Currently, 4-Aminopyridine is being studied by Acorda Therapeutics and other laboratories for its role in helping patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

In field and laboratory studies, there have been no confirmed secondary poisonings with Avitrol. The lack of secondary poisoning from birds killed by Avitrol baits when consumed by other species is confirmed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service studies. However, it is possible that if a predator should eat the crop of an Avitrol effected bird that contains undigested Avitrol bait, there could be primary poisoning. See the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Secondary Hazards to Animals study.

There are numerous claims made by various activist groups that use of Avitrol baits is inhumane and that secondary poisoning is a major problem. There have even been instances of data altering by those groups. Their claims are made with no supporting data and are refuted by the above cited data and a vast array of human test data. Please note that it is very unique to have human test data for a pesticide active ingredient.

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