Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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

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

Infants and young children may experience high phthalate levels because they often put plastic products in their mouths. Image Source / Getty Images

By Stephanie Eick

You may not realize it, but you likely encounter phthalates every day. These chemicals are found in many plastics, including food packaging, and they can migrate into food products during processing. They're in personal care products like shampoos, soaps and laundry detergents, and in the vinyl flooring in many homes.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An oil pumpjack is seen in a Texas cotton field against a backdrop of wind energy. ChrisBoswell / Getty Images

Many congressional districts with the most clean energy potential are current fossil fuel hubs, potentially reducing political barriers to a just transition away from the energy sources that cause climate change, a Brookings report says.

Read More Show Less

Trending

About EcoWatch

A sea turtle rescued from Israel's devastating oil spill. MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP via Getty Images

Rescue workers in Israel are using a surprising cure to save the sea turtles harmed by a devastating oil spill: mayonnaise!

Read More Show Less
A "digital twin of Earth." European Space Agency

As the weather grows more severe, and its damages more expensive and fatal, current weather predictions fall short in providing reliable information on Earth's rapidly changing systems.

Read More Show Less
Melting ice in places such as Greenland could stop a critical ocean current. Paul Souders / Getty Images

The climate crisis could push an important ocean current past a critical tipping point sooner than expected, new research suggests.

Read More Show Less