The recent reauthorization of M-44 devices or cyanide bombs as some groups are calling them, by the Environmental Protection Agency has brought a lot of negative attention to Wildlife Services.
These devices are planted to protect livestock and crops, but they will injure or destroy anything in their path, from rabid wolves, pet dogs, or endangered species.
Backlash From The Decision
The EPA previously had banned these bombs in several states after receiving numerous complaints from animal activist groups. In Idaho the use of M-44’s were banned after one family sued when their teenage son accidentally set a device off not knowing what it was, sending him to the hospital and ending their family pet’s life.
Their reauthorization comes after a letter-writing campaign that ended with more than 20,000 letters being sent to EPA headquarters as well.
Regulations Changed, Still Dangerous
The EPA has changed some of the regulations with the use of these cyanide devices in hopes they will cause less accidental injury.
Any bombs must be placed 100 feet or more from any public trails or roads when the previous regulations only stated 50 feet. Signs must be within 15 feet of any device, and any residents within a half-mile of any device must be notified that they are there.
The Center for Biological Diversity said that these steps were not nearly enough and that cyanide bombs kill anything that comes across them – and argue that children, pets, and endangered species cannot read the signs, so the new notifications still won’t do a lot of good.