Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Trump Administration Refuses to Ban Wildlife-Killing M-44 'Cyanide Bombs'

Animals
Tom Koerner / USFWS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has refused to ban M-44s, commonly known as cyanide bombs, which cause agonizing deaths for thousands of animals every year.


The agency's decision comes in response to a 2017 petition authored by the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians and signed by several other wildlife conservation groups.

The devices are used to kill coyotes, foxes and wild dogs, purportedly to address conflicts with livestock. But they also pose serious risks of accidental injury and death for people, family pets and imperiled wildlife.

"Cyanide traps are indiscriminate killers that just can't be used safely," said Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity. "We'll keep fighting for a permanent nationwide ban, which is the only way to protect people, pets and imperiled wildlife from the EPA's poison."

The EPA has registered sodium cyanide for use in M-44s by Wildlife Services—the secretive U.S. Department of Agriculture wildlife-killing program—as well as by certain state agencies in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and Texas.

The devices spray deadly sodium cyanide into the mouths of unsuspecting coyotes, foxes and other carnivores lured by smelly bait. Anything or anyone that pulls on the baited M-44 device can be killed or severely injured by the deadly spray.

M-44s temporarily blinded a child and killed three family dogs in two separate incidents in Idaho and Wyoming in 2017. A wolf was also accidentally killed by an M-44 set in Oregon last year. Idaho currently has a moratorium on M-44 use on public lands, resulting from the tragedies.

"The government continues to prioritize the minority anti-wildlife ranching industry over making public lands safe for people, imperiled wildlife and companion animals," said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. "These dangerous, indiscriminate devices have absolutely no place on public lands, especially given no evidence exists that they actually reduce conflict."

According to Wildlife Services' own data, M-44s killed 13,232 animals, mostly coyotes and foxes, in 2017. Of these more than 200 deaths were nontarget animals, including a wolf, family dogs, opossums, raccoons, ravens and skunks.

Unfortunately these numbers are likely a significant undercount of the true death toll, as Wildlife Services is notorious for poor data collection and an entrenched "shoot, shovel, shut up" mentality.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Food Tank

By Danielle Nierenberg and Alonso Diaz

With record high unemployment, a reeling global economy, and concerns of food shortages, the world as we know it is changing. But even as these shifts expose inequities in the health and food systems, many experts hope that the current moment offers an opportunity to build a new and more sustainable food system.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brian J. Love and Julie Rieland

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the U.S. recycling industry. Waste sources, quantities and destinations are all in flux, and shutdowns have devastated an industry that was already struggling.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Unhealthy foods play a primary role in many people gaining weight and developing chronic health conditions, more now than ever before.

Read More Show Less
A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less