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Trump Administration Authorizes 'Cyanide Bombs' to Kill Wild Animals
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=47968"><span class="small">Jimmy Tobias, Guardian UK</span></a>   
Friday, 09 August 2019 12:40

Tobias writes: "The Trump administration has reauthorized government officials to use controversial poison devices - dubbed 'cyanide bombs' by critics - to kill coyotes, foxes and other animals across the US."

Coyote stands in the frost in the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming. (photo: Tom Koerner/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Coyote stands in the frost in the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming. (photo: Tom Koerner/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Trump Administration Authorizes 'Cyanide Bombs' to Kill Wild Animals

By Jimmy Tobias, Guardian UK

09 August 19

The poison-filled, spring-loaded traps, called M-44s, are used by Wildlife Services for the benefit of farmers and ranchers

he Trump administration has reauthorized government officials to use controversial poison devices – dubbed “cyanide bombs” by critics – to kill coyotes, foxes and other animals across the US.

The spring-loaded traps, called M-44s, are filled with sodium cyanide and are most frequently deployed by Wildlife Services, a federal agency in the US Department of Agriculture that kills vast numbers of wild animals each year, primarily for the benefit of private farmers and ranchers.

In 2018, Wildlife Services reported that its agents had dispatched more than 1.5 million native animals, from beavers to black bears, wolves, ducks and owls. Roughly 6,500 of them were killed by M-44s.

On Tuesday, after completing the first phase of a routine review, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would allow sodium cyanide’s continued use in M-44s across the country on an interim basis.

Yet the traps are facing increasing opposition, and have, in the past, led to the inadvertent deaths of endangered species and domestic pets and caused harm to humans.

In 2017, a teenage boy named Canyon Mansfield was hiking with his dog in the woods behind his family’s home in Pocatello, Idaho when Mansfield’s dog triggered a cyanide trap that sprayed a plume of poison dust into the air. The dog died on the spot and Mansfield was rushed to the hospital, where he ultimately recovered. His parents are suing Wildlife Services over the poisoning.

Mansfield’s case made national headlines and has fueled opposition to M-44s. In May, in response to advocacy by environmental groups, Oregon’s governor Kate Brown signed a ban on the use of the traps in the state. In 2017, Wildlife Services agreed to temporarily halt the use of M-44s in Colorado after environmental groups sued. The agency also stopped using them in Idaho after the Mansfield case came to light.

In the months before the EPA announced the reauthorization, conservation groups and members of the public flooded the agency with comments calling for a complete national ban on the predator-killing poison. According to an analysis provided by the Center for Biological Diversity, which is a leading opponent of M-44s, 99.9% of all comments received by the EPA opposed the reauthorization of sodium cyanide for predator control purposes.

Although the agency took a different view, it did impose new restrictions on the use of M-44s. Among other things, the agency will now prohibit government officials from placing M-44s within 100 feet of public roads or trails. The agency’s reauthorization decision is only an interim one and a final decision on the matter is expected to come down after 2021.

Brooks Fahy, the executive director of the environmental group Predator Defense and a leading opponent of M-44s, denounced the EPA’s decision.

It is a “complete disaster”, he said. “[The EPA] ignored the facts and they ignored cases that, without a doubt, demonstrate that there is no way M-44s can be used safely.”

In response to the Guardian’s request for comment, the EPA referenced the documentation of the decision on its website.

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+8 # MikeAF48 2019-08-09 18:27
Where will you get these Cyanide Bombs from the Military? Bayer? please tell us Leave the animal chain alone.
+5 # dotlady 2019-08-09 23:25
This hideous manner of slaughtering animals shows how sick and sadistic our human "society" remains. Bad practices by the Wildlife Services are now encourages by our sicko in chief.
+4 # tedrey 2019-08-10 07:58
My god! Get those banned immediately. And don't advertise them. Some wingnut is going to use them in public and the death toll will be horrendous.

"Guns don't kill people." It's the idiots who sell guns and poison bombs who kill people.
0 # coberly 2019-08-12 10:44
they already use them in public. but they are not "bombs" like you are thinking of. not going to be a "horrendous death toll." except maybe to people like me who tend to try to disable them when we find them. no doubt a federal crime.
+5 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-08-10 08:15
These ‘bombs’ have a two-generation history of slaughtering non-target animals &, if I recall correctly, at least one human. Random, deadly policy with no proven biological benefit. & wise farmers & ranchers know a reasonable predator population benefits them, too. Coyotes do no harm to ranchers & greatly help to control rodents.
0 # tedrey 2019-08-11 12:39
Thank you for speaking out for your namesake, coyote. I second you.
+3 # Street Level 2019-08-10 10:17
Approving this shit is bad enough. The real problem are the brainless idiots who carry out these orders. More need to refuse and stand with people and planet.
Idiots who blindly follow are the only reason that people like Hitler have armies to carry out brainwashed hate.
0 # coberly 2019-08-11 20:37
one hundred feet?

well, why on earth would any honest person or dog be more than 100 feet from the nearest trail?

the true Trump agenda is to kill everything that isn't gold.

you people don't believe in the devil. give me another word for it then.