Quantcast

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

Juvenile hatchery salmon flushed from a tanker truck in San Francisco Bay, California. Ben Moon

That salmon sitting in your neighborhood grocery store's fish counter won't look the same to you after watching Artifishal, a new film from Patagonia.

Read More Show Less
Natdanai Pankong / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Coconut meat is the white flesh inside a coconut.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Arx0nt / Moment / Getty Images

By Taylor Jones, RD

Oats are a highly nutritious grain with many health benefits.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

Get ready to toast bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. National Pollinator Week is June 17-23 and it's a perfect time to celebrate the birds, bugs and lizards that are so essential to the crops we grow, the flowers we smell, and the plants that produce the air we breathe.

Read More Show Less
Alexander Spatari / Moment / Getty Images

It seems like every day a new diet is declared the healthiest — paleo, ketogenic, Atkins, to name a few — while government agencies regularly release their own recommended dietary guidelines. But there may not be an ideal one-size-fits-all diet, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Logging shown as part of a thinning and restoration effort in the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon on Oct. 22, 2014. Oregon Department of Forestry / CC BY 2.0

The U.S Forest Service unveiled a new plan to skirt a major environmental law that requires extensive review for new logging, road building, and mining projects on its nearly 200 million acres of public land. The proposal set off alarm bells for environmental groups, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Maskot / Getty Images

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to wonder which foods are healthiest.

Read More Show Less
Homes in Washington, DC's Brookland neighborhood were condemned to clear room for a highway in the 1960s. The community fought back. Brig Cabe / DC Public Library

By Teju Adisa-Farrar & Raul Garcia

In the summer of 1969 a banner hung over a set of condemned homes in what was then the predominantly black and brown Brookland neighborhood in Washington, DC. It read, "White man's roads through black men's homes."

Earlier in the year, the District attempted to condemn the houses to make space for a proposed freeway. The plans proposed a 10-lane freeway, a behemoth of a project that would divide the nation's capital end-to-end and sever iconic Black neighborhoods like Shaw and the U Street Corridor from the rest of the city.

Read More Show Less