US President Donald Trump’s administration has re-authorized using controversial poison traps known as “cyanide bombs” to kill coyotes, wild foxes, and feral dogs despite strong opposition from conservation groups.
The devices, known as M-44s that are implanted in the ground and resembling lawn sprinklers use a spring-loaded ejector releasing sodium cyanide when an animal catches on its baited capsule holder.
The government halted using the devices last year after one in all them was responsible for wounding a boy and killing his dog in Idaho.
The family has also filed a case in opposition to the federal government.
The decision to re-instate their use was introduced in the Federal Register this week and met with outrage by environmental groups that led a campaign to inundate the Environmental Safety Agency with more than 20,000 letters.
“They’re incredibly dangerous to people, their pets, and endangered wildlife, they’re simply too risky to be used,” Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director for the Center for Biological Diversity, informed AFP on Thursday.
“The livestock trade wants it,” she said, including that agriculture industry groups sent about ten comments in favor of re-authorizing M-44s to the EPA.
According to government knowledge, M-44s killed 6,579 animals in 2018, including more than 200 “non-target” animals including opossums’ raccoons, skunks, and a bear.
“These numbers probably significantly beneath-estimate the true death toll since Wildlife Providers is infamous for poor data collection and an entrenched ‘shoot, shovel, shut up’ mentality,” the Center for Biological Diversity mentioned in a statement.
The EPA did add certain new restrictions, including that devices, may not be positioned inside 100 feet of a road, and that warning is nonetheless required to be placed inside 15 feet of the gadget—although this would not reduce deaths of non-target wildlife.