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Trump Administration Reauthorizes Wildlife-killing M-44 ‘Cyanide Bombs’ Despite Strong Opposition

The Trump administration has reauthorized use of sodium cyanide in wildlife-killing devices called M-44s. These “cyanide bombs” received approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency despite inhumanely and indiscriminately killing thousands of animals every year. They have also injured people.

“Cyanide traps can’t be used safely by anyone, anywhere,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “While the EPA added some restrictions, these deadly devices have caused too much harm to remain in use. We need a permanent nationwide ban to protect people, pets and imperiled wildlife from this poison.”

The EPA allows use of the devices by Wildlife Services, the animal-killing program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The EPA also authorizes M-44 use by state agencies in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and Texas.

Earlier this year, the EPA issued a proposed interim decision renewing sodium cyanide registration and opened a public comment period. More than 99.9 percent of comments urged the EPA to ban M-44s, according to an analysisby the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Environmental Law Center.

In response to concerns raised by wildlife advocacy groups and others, EPA added some restrictions. For example, the devices cannot be placed within 100 feet of a public road or pathway, increased from 50 feet. Elevated warning signs must be placed within 15 feet of each device, decreased from 25 feet. And people living within a half-mile of an M-44 placement must be notified.

None of the restrictions will prevent killing of nontarget wildlife, however.

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