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Latest: A new push to ban predator poisoning

Cyanide meant for coyotes also kills dogs and eagles, and injures people


The federal agency known as Wildlife Services killed 2.7 million animals last year to protect livestock and farm crops, including hundreds of wolves, mountain lions, coyotes, black bears, bobcats and foxes (“The Forever War,"HCN, 1/25/16). The agency says it’s working on non-lethal deterrence to decrease its reliance on deadly devices such as traps, guns and M-44 cyanide cartridges, which have accidentally killed eagles, other wildlife, livestock and domestic dogs. But half of its funding comes from states, counties, businesses and ranchers who often want predators killed.

Closeup of a set M-44 device, now banned in Idaho.

In mid-August, 18 conservation groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to outlaw M-44s in the Lower 48 states. The devices, which shoot sodium cyanide into the mouths of carnivores that pull on bait, have already been banned, at least temporarily, in Idaho, after one injured a 14-year-old boy and killed his dog this spring. Back in March, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., reintroduced a bill to ban sodium cyanide and another lethal predator poison, Compound 1080, nationwide.