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California to consider US plan to kill Farallon Islands mice

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Coastal Commission on Wednesday will hear public comment on a federal plan to drop 1.5 tons of rat poison on the Farallon Islands in an effort to eradicate a mice infestation, a proposal that is drawing criticism.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says in a report presented to the commission that massive mice population has attracted burrowing owls, which eat the mice but also prey on the ashy storm petrels, a rare bird with a declining population.

The service says it plans to use brodifacoum, a rodenticide banned in California.

The commission is set to consider whether the federal plan complies with California coastal management rules. It has has no power to veto the plan.

Critics say the poison will also kill mice but also wildlife in the islands off the San Francisco coast.

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