Banishing M-44 Cyanide Bombs from Public Lands
We’re actively working to stop the use of dangerous – and lethal – baited sodium cyanide poison devices on public lands across the contiguous 48 states. The rogue, federal wildlife-killing program Wildlife Services, as well as five authorized state wildlife departments in New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Texas, and South Dakota, deploy cruel M-44 “cyanide bombs” on public and private lands across the West to kill primarily coyotes and foxes deemed as a “nuisance” to some livestock producers. M-44s are indiscriminate killers though, and often take thousands of non-target species – including pet dogs, endangered wolves, and ravens – each year. Wildlife Services has recently used M-44s in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. In 2017 alone, Wildlife Services reported killing at least 13,232 animals with M-44s, which tragically includes over 200 non-target animals, including: 21 dogs, 48 racoons, 21 opossums, and at least one federally protected gray wolf.
These spring-loaded, scent-baited devices attract and kill pet dogs and endangered species and have contributed to the death of at least one man recreating on public lands. They’re placed across wide swaths of public lands, and often with insufficient or no signage to warn people about their deadly effects. M-44 cyanide bombs are too dangerous and indiscriminate for continued use on public lands, especially when many alternative, non-lethal tools exist to reduce potential wildlife-livestock conflict.
As part of a larger strategy to eliminate M-44s from public lands altogether, we’ve petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restrict the use of sodium cyanide –– the lethal poison inside M-44s –– under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, a law intended to protect people and the environment from the unreasonable adverse effects of pesticide use. The EPA reviewed the federal registration for sodium cyanide as used in these dangerous devices and issued an interim decision authorizing its use with new restrictions. Days later, it retracted the interim decision. We’re using the Freedom of Information Act to get answers as to what is going on.