VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver Island group is pushing for British Columbia to become the first province in Canada to ban rat poison and other rodenticides, saying they are inhumane and have detrimental effects on local wildlife.

Rodenticide Free BC has launched a petition calling on the provincial government to follow in the footsteps of some municipalities that have banned the chemicals on their properties.

In less than a week, the petition has grown to include more than 1,000 signatures calling for the province to implement a province-wide ban. 

Deanna Pfeifer has been advocating for a rodenticide ban since 2019, when she found an owl in her neighbourhood park that had died from consuming poison.

Since last year, she says she's been approached by 25 others who have discovered dead birds of prey and didn't know what to do about it. It's not clear how many of those raptors were killed by rodenticides, Pfeifer said, adding that data on bird poisonings isn't reliably collected in the province.

"Companies lay down these poisons and the rats just go off into our ecosystem to die and then they're spread further up into the food chain," Pfeifer told CTV News Vancouver Island.

As an alternative, Rodenticide Free BC recommends preventative measures for controlling rodent populations, as well as humane traps, if necessary.

The petition includes links to letters from 15 B.C. mayors asking the provincial government to address the use of rodenticide through legislation, and Pfeifer said 30 different organizations have lent their support to the campaign.

She said her group has been pleased with the support so far.

"It's really important for the province and especially the Ministry of Environment to hear how important this is for the citizens of B.C.," Pfeifer said. "They have an obligation to protect the people, the wildlife and the environment."

"People need to speak up and they certainly are doing that in their quick response to this petition," she added. "It's just growing incredibly. We've got amazing momentum."