A coalition of conservation and wildlife organizations formally petitioned the Wildlife Services program of the US Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) yesterday calling for an immediate ban on the use of M-44 cyanide devices in Wyoming, according to anAnimal Welfare InstitutePress Release.
Recent incidents caused by the predator-killing devices, including the killing of two family dogs in the state, as well as the hospitalization of a teenager and the death of his pet dog in Idaho, prompted the petition.
As reported by WAN, in March 14-year-old Canyon Mansfield touched a device which he thought was a sprinkler head outside of his home in Idaho. The bomb exploded, spraying Canyon and Casey, his beloved three-year-old, 90 pound, Labrador Retriever, with toxic cyanide gas. Tragically, Canyon was injured and Casey was killed.
Following the tragedy, a similar petition was filed and Wildlife Services agreed to remove M-44s on all lands in Idaho.
“We’re not at war with native wildlife, and it is irresponsible to allow poison landmines to be sown anywhere in Wyoming,” said Erik Molvar, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “Wildlife Services got rid of M-44s in Idaho, and they should do the same in Wyoming before more pets, and even people, get hurt or killed.”
The organizations requested the immediate removal of all existing devices from the state. M-44s, also known as “cyanide bombs” and “coyote getters,” lead to the agonizing death of thousands of animals every year, many of them non-target animals.
Specifically, between 2000 and 2016, APHIS reported that M-44s in Wyoming killed 5,973 target animals, 112 nontarget animals including eight dogs, and 447 unclassified animals. In addition, at least two dogs have been killed so far in 2017.
“There is absolutely no reason for a government agency to be placing poisonous gas anywhere, much less mere yards from where people and pets live,” said Tara Zuardo, wildlife attorney with the Animal Welfare Institute. “Devices like these are not only extremely dangerous, but they also represent wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars and are the cause of tremendous suffering for both people and animals.”
“Taxpayers should not be expected to continue funding the cruel slaughter of wildlife at the behest of agricultural producers’ profits,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Cyanide bombs are indiscriminate and inhumane—and are a proven danger to humans and companion animals. These devices have no rightful place in wildlife policy.”
“Any animal that might pull on the baited trigger is at risk, including endangered wildlife like grizzlies, as well as people and pets. And in just the past few months, these cruel devices have injured a child and killed an endangered wolf and several family dogs,” added Andrea Santarsiere, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Enough is enough.”
Federal law requires Wildlife Services to provide a final decision in writing to the petitioners.
More information and a copy of the petition letter can be found Here.
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