Trump administration reauthorizes ‘cyanide bombs’ after public outrage

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The Trump Administration has reauthorized the use of “cyanide bombs” to poison foxes, coyotes and wild dogs that  threaten livestock. The announcement came on Thursday, which included additional safety requirements to protect humans and pets. Additional signs and increased distances from homes and roads are to be implemented.

The traps, known as M-44s, are positioned in the wild and are designed to lure the predatory animals with bait and then release a fatal dose of sodium cyanide.

Four months ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  announced the use of the devices had been suspended. Public outrage had been credited with the reversal after the sodium cyanide canister traps were aimed at killing foxes, bears, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, birds and other wild animals. Scientists contend the use of the traps also contaminates the environment and pose a deadly threat to domestic pets and humans. In addition, there are alternate methods to prevent predatory animal attacks including specialized fencing the federal government has offered to install.

The EPA originally announced its decision to bring back the traps in August, but reversed the decision in one week after tremendous outcry during a public comment period.

“The overwhelming majority of comments from the public, including more than 20,000 letters from the [Center for Biological Diversity] write in campaign, did not support the continued registration of sodium cyanide predacide uses.”

The EPA supposedly went back to the drawing board to analyze the poison traps, but no matter how many comments or scientific data had been received, the EPA announced it had reconsidered again and would reauthorize the traps. This time however, they would add a 600-foot buffer around homes where the traps can’t be placed (unless the landowner has given written permission.” In addition, the buffer zone along public paths and roads would increase from 100 feet to 300 feet.

The agency will require two elevated warning signs  within 15 feet of the trap as compared to previous warning signs at 25 feet away. Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming are registered to use the lethal traps. Oregon and Colorado have temporarily banned the traps and argue the traps kill animals that pose no threat to livestock and farmers and do not effectively ward off predators

Animal advocates, environmental experts and pet owners contend the M-44s are not only cruel, but wonder how dogs, small children and other wild animals not on the “list” will “read” the warning signs? As for the cruelty involved, the death of these animals is agonizing:

“You could compare it to sarin gas attacks in Syria because the concept of how cyanide kills is similar,” stated Sander Orent, a toxicologist in Boulder. “It basically suffocates any living being it comes in contact with. It ties up the ability of the blood to carry oxygen. When that animal is gasping for air, it experiences an extremely uncomfortable feeling of panic and desperation, then it convulses and dies. For an animal experiencing it and a person watching it happen, it would be horrifying.”

In 2019, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio ( D-Oregon) introduced the Chemical Poisons Reduction Act; the bill was co-sponsored by U.S Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida)  declaring the federal government should not be using such extreme measures in the name of “predator control.” No new legislation has yet to pass as hearings are still being discussed.

Ranchers argue that unless they can use public land to make a profit, they might be forced to sell off their private land to developers which in turn would destroy wild life and their habitats.

In addition to the M44s now to be employed to get rid of predators, the EPA and wildlife services still use aircraft and helicopters to fly over the West and shoot coyotes on public lands. On the ground, there are lethal leg traps and snares, poison gases forced into the animal dens, and at times gasoline is poured into their burrows and ignited – burning to death the parents as well as the pups.

Cyanide bombs have been in use before the Trump Administration; during the Obama Administration there had been 321 deaths of non targeted animals including family dogs and a black bear. During Trump’s Administration more than 200 non targeted animals were killed including raccoons, opossums and a bear. In 2017, a young boy was severely injured and his dog killed from the bomb. His family sued the government. The numbers of non targeted animal deaths continue to rise.

Just what kind of humanity or lack thereof are these M44 bombs?

Source: Center for Biological Diversity

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  1. This is barbaric, how many family pets and even people have to be killed or made sick by these horrible devices before the Trump administration comes to it’s senses. They don’t give a hoot about wildlife or the environment!


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