Monday, April 10, 2017

USDA agrees to temporarily stop M-44 cyanide use in Idaho

After a cyanide tramp killed a dog in Pocatello and sickened a child, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program announced Monday would stop using M-44 cyanide bombs in Idaho, at least temporarily. The decision came after a petition was filed by 19 conservation and wildlife organizations two weeks ago. The cyanide bombs were being used to kill predators and pests. In a letter sent to conservation groups today, the USDA’s Wildlife Services announced it has ceased the use of M-44 cyanide bombs on all private, state and federal lands in Idaho, and has removed all M-44s that were deployed in the state. M-44 devices are spring-loaded and tipped with deadly sodium cyanide. The device blasts poison on any animal or person that triggers them. Environmental and animal-welfare groups filed a lawsuit April 4, claiming the U.S. government was violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing the use of two predator-killing poisons, according to the Associated Press. “This is an important victory, at least a temporary one, for both wildlife and for public safety across Idaho,” said Erik Molvar, executive director with Western Watersheds Project in a news release. “We thank Wildlife Services for doing the right thing by removing these deadly and indiscriminate killing devices, and urge them to make the moratorium permanent.” The petition to stop using M-44s was filed in response to the Pocatello incident, in which a 14-year-old boy was sprayed with cyanide and his dog was killed. Despite the sweeping nature of the moratorium and the removal of M-44s throughout the state, it might not amount to a permanent ban. In its letter, Wildlife Services informed the groups that “WS will notify you 30 days prior to placing any new M-44s in Idaho” according to a news release from the Western Watersheds Project...more

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