For Immediate Release, June 14, 2023
Brooks Fahy, Predator Defense, (541) 520-6003, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bills Introduced to Ban Deadly ‘Cyanide Bombs’ on Public Lands
WASHINGTON— Bills introduced Tuesday by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) would ban the use of wildlife-killing M-44 devices, commonly known as ‘‘cyanide bombs,’’ on public lands. These deadly devices are spring-loaded capsules armed with cyanide spray that have injured people and inhumanely killed thousands of animals every year.
“Working closely with M-44 cyanide bomb victims for 30 years, I have witnessed what these indiscriminate devices have done to families,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense, a national wildlife advocacy group. “Countless people have lost beloved pets, and both children and adults have been poisoned. The emotional scars are permanent. This is a nonpartisan issue. Since M-44s can never be used safely, they must be banned, and a public lands ban is a great start.”
The legislation, known as “Canyon’s Law,” was first introduced in 2017 following a string of tragic incidents involving M-44s. Canyon Mansfield was 14 years old when he inadvertently triggered an M-44 device on public land behind his home in Pocatello, Idaho, which killed his dog and injured him. He was believed to have been spared from death because of the wind’s direction.
“These poison-spewing devices are too dangerous to be used on public lands,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Year after year, we see tragic reports of cyanide bombs injuring people and killing unintended victims like dogs and rare wildlife. Congress can prevent the next tragedy by finally banning these indiscriminate devices.”
In late 2019 the Trump administration announced it would reauthorize the use of sodium cyanide in M-44s despite overwhelming public support for a nationwide ban. The Environmental Protection Agency allows the devices to be used by Wildlife Services, the animal-killing program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Federal agents last year reported using M-44s in 10 states: Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming. The EPA also authorizes state agencies in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and Texas to use M-44s.
According to Wildlife Services’ own data, the program poisoned approximately 6,000 animals in 2022 using M-44s. More than 150 of these animals were killed unintentionally, including dogs and dozens of foxes. The program’s use of M-44s has declined slightly since 2021, when it used M-44s to kill approximately 7,500 animals.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Predator Defense (predatordefense.org) is a national nonprofit advocacy organization devoted to protecting essential native predators, helping people learn to coexist with wild animals, and ending America's war on wildlife. They have been championing native predators with science, sanity, and heart since 1990.