The Trump administration has reversed its controversial decision to permit officials to use cyanide bombs to kill wild animals.
These cyanide bombs – called M-44s – are spring-loaded traps filled with sodium cyanide. They are mostly used by Wildlife Services – a federal agency within the US Department of Agriculture – to kill wild animals such as coyotes, foxes, feral dogs for private farmers and ranchers.
Earlier this month, the US Government reauthorized government officials to use M-44s, sparking outrage and concern amongst many Americans.
Wildlife organisation Predator Defence have previously described the traps as being a ‘public safety menace’.
The Trump administration has now backed down on their decision to reintroduce these controversial traps, following a public backlash.
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler made the following statement in a press release:
I am announcing a withdrawal of EPA’s interim registration review decision on sodium cyanide, the compound used in M-44 devices to control wild predators.
This issue warrants further analysis and additional discussions by EPA with the registrants of this predacide. USDA is the primary registrant, along with five other state departments of agriculture: Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.
I look forward to continuing this dialogue to ensure U.S. livestock remain well-protected from dangerous predators while simultaneously minimizing off-target impacts on both humans and non-predatory animals.
As reported by The Guardian, Wildlife Services killed over 1.5 million native wild animals throughout the US in 2018, including bears, wolves and birds. Approximately 6,500 of these were killed by M-44s.
Brooks Fahy the executive director of Predator Defense, an opponent to the devices, has praised the reversal, making the following public statement:
Obviously somebody at EPA is paying attention to the public’s concerns about cyanide bombs.
It would appear they’re responding to public outrage over the interim decision from last week. Our phone has been ringing off the hook from concerned citizens regarding their greenlight to continue using these horrific devices. We’ll have to see how this plays out.
Used on both public and private land across the US, M-44s have previously led to the accidental deaths of endangered species and household pets. They have even caused injury to humans.
In 2017, a teenager called Canyon Mansfield was injured by a cyanide trap while hiking with his dog in Pocatello, Idaho. Mansfield was rushed to hospital, while his dog was killed almost immediately due to the triggered trap.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.