For years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services has been using and continues to use deadly M-44s – more commonly known as “cyanide bombs” – to control predator populations. However, the bombs are set off by any disturbance, no matter the animal. States are finally starting to ban their use as they have killed pets, other animals, and injured humans.
While the fate of their use nationwide is still undecided, Oregon took a stand and banned the deadly bombs. They are the third state to issue a ban following California and Washington. Governor Kate Brown just signed the legislation into law.
A sodium cyanide capsule is placed inside a sprinkler-looking device to create a cyanide bomb, and it will spray the Category 1 toxin into any animal’s mouth that sets off the trigger. This will result in the animal dying in agony. An Idaho teenager witnessed first hand what the deadly devices can do.
Canyon Mansfield and his dog, Casey, were out exploring on their property when they came upon an unmarked and illegally placed cyanide bomb. Canyon thought it was a sprinkler and went to investigate when it exploded and killed his beloved dog. He lived but still suffers from complications from the toxin. There are hundreds more with similar stories, and some are being told in the documentary “Lethal Control”.
“There is no safe place or way to use M-44s, as young children, pets, and wild animals do not understand warning signs. And there is virtually no place in the great outdoors that people and animals do not go. And it is only a matter of time before an M-44 kills a child,” stated animal welfare groups in a letter to House Committee on Natural Resources.
M-44s are supposed to be labeled with a warning sign and can be detonated by any animal. Wildlife Services reported 246,985 animals killed by M-44s from 2000 through 2016, including at least 1,182 dogs.
Science has proven that lethal predator control is not effective and actually counter-productive. It kills off other native species and even endangered animals. “Unsurprisingly, since 2000 Wildlife Services has killed countless
animals representing more than 150 non-target species, including federally protected and/or state-protected
animals such as Mexican gray wolves, grizzly bears, kangaroo rats, eagles, falcons, California condors, red-tailed
hawks, great horned owls, and others.”
This was just part of the evidence that multiple animal conservation and welfare groups presented to urge Oregon to ban cyanide bombs. Thankfully, Oregon decided to ban M-44s and hopefully all other states will follow suit.
How many more innocent animals need to die before cyanide bombs are banned nationwide?! You can help by signing the petition below to ban them nationwide.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.