The U.S. Authorized The Use Of ‘Cyanide Bombs’ To Kill Wild Animals

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Brushing off public opposition, the Trump administration has re-approved the use of the so-called “cyanide bombs” to kill wild animals on public lands.

The U.S. Authorized The Use Of ‘Cyanide Bombs’ To Kill Wild Animals

Brushing off public opposition, the Trump administration has re-approved the use of the so-called “cyanide bombs” to kill wild animals on public lands.


Officially known as M-44s, the devices “can’t be used safely by anyone, anywhere,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity, saying they claim the lives of target animals like coyotes as well as non-target animals such as bears, foxes, and family pets.


The announcement, posted in the Federal Register, authorizes their use on “an interim basis—until a final decision can be made in 2021,” according to Newsweek. It permits their use by Wildlife Services, a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and by state agencies in Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, and South Dakota, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.


Wildlife Services—that’s been in the crosshairs of animal welfare and conservation groups—says that its mission is “to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.” Nevertheless, critics like the Humane Society say (pdf) it “has shown a preference for lethal methods in resolving conflicts” and has been “exterminating wildlife as a government subsidy for private ranchers and other special interests, using inhumane and ineffective methods, while the U.S. taxpayers foot a large share of the bill.”


When the EPA earlier in 2019 proposed their reinstatement, the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Environmental Law Center analyzed a batch of more than 22,000 public comments.


Public sentiment was clear, as 99.9% of people supported a ban on the cyanide bombs.


The conservation groups also pointed to Wildlife Services’ data showing that out of the approximately 6,600 animals it killed in 2018, more than 200 were non-target animals—a death toll they say is likely an under-count.


The EPA added restrictions—such as increasing the amount of space between a public roadway and the devices, and the distance between warning signs and the cyanide bombs—but these changes did little to assuage conservation groups’ concerns.

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Thinking Humanity: The U.S. Authorized The Use Of ‘Cyanide Bombs’ To Kill Wild Animals
The U.S. Authorized The Use Of ‘Cyanide Bombs’ To Kill Wild Animals
Brushing off public opposition, the Trump administration has re-approved the use of the so-called “cyanide bombs” to kill wild animals on public lands.
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