NEW AND VIEWS – UNITED STATES: What is a cyanide bomb? It sounds obnoxious and it is. It’s spring-loaded device filled with sodium cyanide used to kill predatory animals and ‘pest species’. The Center for Biological Diversity tells me that cyanide bombs are used under a US federal program called ‘wildlife services’ which is a part of the US Department of Agriculture, to release sodium cyanide into the mouths and faces of unsuspecting wild animals considered ‘pests’ such as skunks, raccoons, opossums and foxes.
They kill domestic animals too, as you might imagine and sometimes, they’ve harmed humans. For example, in 2017 an M-44 temporarily blinded a child and killed three family dogs in incidents in Idaho and Wyoming. There have been other troubling incidents.
In 2019, the Center for Biological Diversity achieved success in obtaining a federal court ban on the use of the device on 10 million acres of public, Wyoming land. In 2020 they obtained an agreement banning M-44s in Idaho.
The Environmental Protection Agency continued to endorse the M-44.
The ejector device contains a capsule of sodium cyanide that is placed in the ground and scented with bait/lure. This device is used in specific situations to control coyotes to protect livestock and endangered species. This device is primarily used on private lands but may also be used on federal land in any county in the state. – Health University of Utah.
Brooks Fahy sums up the problem:
I have witnessed the pain and loss these indiscriminate devices inflict, said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense, a national wildlife advocacy group. Since M-44s can never be used safely, they must be banned. This is not a partisan issue. It’s a public safety issue.
My research indicates that the public in general are behind a ban on the M-44, which leads me to the work of three US Representatives: Jared Huffman (CA-02) and Steve Cohen (TN-09) and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who’ve re-introduced Canyon’s Law, legislation to ban from public lands the M-44 ejector.
I can’t do better than quote what they’ve said about this obnoxious and dangerous device which is inherently very cruel to animals and which is a distinct danger to untargeted animals including the human-animal.
Cyanide bombs are a cruel and indiscriminate device that have proven to be deadly for pets, humans, and wildlife – regardless of the intended target. Families should be able to enjoy the outdoors without the fear of accidentally detonating these devices. They have no business being on our public lands, especially when there are far safer, proven methods to protect livestock, and our bill will bring an end to their use – Rep. Huffman.
Cyanide bombs have no businesses being on public lands. These dangerous devices have no safeguard for our families and our pets, threatening animals and humans alike. More effective, safe, and humane predator control options are available, and should be the only options used on public lands. – Sen. Merkley.
The use of M-44 cyanide bombs to control wildlife is inhumane and unjustifiable. I am pleased to join Congressman Huffman and my other colleagues in ending this barbaric practice. With the passage of Canyon’s Law, hikers, campers and their pets will be able to traverse federal lands without the fear of harm or death from these inconspicuous devices, – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9), a longtime member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus.