EPA says it will review use of deadly cyanide bombs to kill native carnivores

By on August 20, 2019 with 0 Comments

In a welcome move, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced it will reevaluate its approval of cyanide bombs called M-44s – devices that state and federal agencies scatter around public and private lands to kill coyotes who are seen as posing a threat to livestock. These deadly devices – part of a larger war against wildlife being conducted with our taxpayer dollars by a rogue federal agency called Wildlife Services — not only kill coyotes, they also kill endangered wildlife and dogs who come upon them. Ending their use could save thousands of lives each year.

The M-44 is a metal tube about the size of a tent stake, topped with a smelly bait designed to lure wild carnivores like coyotes. When an animal comes across the device and triggers it, it sprays powdered cyanide into the mouth of the victim, where it mixes with saliva or moisture from the air and turns into deadly cyanide gas, one of the most poisonous substances on earth, that is readily absorbed into the lungs and causes asphyxiation and death.

There’s a long list of unintended victims associated with M-44s: In 2017, 14-year-old Canyon Mansfield was sickened, and his dog, Kacey, died, after he accidentally detonated an unmarked M-44 device near his home in Pocatello, Idaho. In Colorado, a toddler and her father watched in horror as their pet dog died after he triggered an M-44 that was illegally placed on their farm by Wildlife Services. Working dogs, including border collies and Great Pyrenees, have been killed while protecting livestock. A therapy dog on a walk with a group of girls died before the troop’s eyes when he accidentally detonated an M-44 bomb.

There have been reports of a border patrol agent, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and a hobby rock collector being sickened after exposure to M-44s. Several Wildlife Services agents have poisoned themselves while deploying the devices. And we know that a number of protected species have also been victims of these bombs, including California condors, wolves and grizzly bears.

The HSUS has long opposed M-44s because of the threat they pose to humans, pets and wildlife, including endangered wildlife, and we have been fighting to end their use. In 2017, we joined a formal petition to the EPA asking that they cancel the registration of the deadly sodium cyanide pesticide used in M-44 devices. Last year, we entered a settlement that compels the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to evaluate the risks of M-44s and Compound 1080, another deadly and indiscriminate poison, to threatened and endangered species.

Wildlife Services routinely deploys these devices in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. Last year, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, deciding enough was enough, signed a bill to prohibit their use in her state.

There are many alternatives now available that ranchers and farmers can use to humanely deter predators, including many developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s own National Wildlife Research Center. These include techniques such as strobe lights, sound and smell aversive tools. These alternatives are not only safe, they are also far more effective, and the only reason they are not being used is because Wildlife Services and others have chosen to resort to killing instead.

We applaud the EPA’s decision to reevaluate the use of M-44 devices and we urge it to move forward on canceling the registration for sodium cyanide as a predator control method altogether. The use of this deadly poison is inhumane, unnecessary and exacts too great a toll on people, pets and our nation’s iconic wildlife.

In historic step forward, nations signal strong support to end capture and export of wild African elephants to zoos

By on August 19, 2019 with 2 Comments
In historic step forward, nations signal strong support to end capture and export of wild African elephants to zoos

Delegates at the world’s largest conference on endangered species have voted to end the cruel capture and export of wild African elephants to zoos worldwide, giving these beleaguered animals, already under attack from trophy hunters and poachers, a historic win. While this vote will need . . . 

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Even as the Lion King breaks box office records, real world challenges for lions remain

By on August 15, 2019 with 1 Comment
Even as the Lion King breaks box office records, real world challenges for lions remain

The Lion King is breaking box office records worldwide, with $1.335 billion in cumulative global box office receipts, including $472.8 million in the United States, as of last weekend. More importantly, it’s delighting audiences everywhere, which is hardly surprising, given the deep appeal that animals . . . 

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HSUS, HSLF file lawsuit to compel USDA to reinstate soring rule

By on August 14, 2019 with 16 Comments
HSUS, HSLF file lawsuit  to compel USDA to reinstate soring rule

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson Just weeks after the historic passage of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693, in the U.S. House of Representatives, we’re opening up another front in our fight against horse “soring.” Today the Humane Society of the . . . 

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A new HSUS video underscores the harms caused by trophy hunting of mountain lions

By on August 13, 2019 with 3 Comments
A new HSUS video underscores the harms caused by trophy hunting of mountain lions

A new video we’ve released blows the lid off of a dirty secret, that America’s iconic mountain lions are being killed at unsustainably high numbers for nothing more than trophies. In our video, you can learn from leading scientists about the myths behind trophy hunting . . . 

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Cruel cosmetics banned in Illinois; third U.S. state to do so after California, Nevada

By on August 13, 2019 with 4 Comments
Cruel cosmetics banned in Illinois; third U.S. state to do so after California, Nevada

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson The United States has moved one step closer to ending unnecessary cosmetics testing on animals, as Illinois becomes the third U.S. state to enact a marketing ban preventing companies from selling cosmetics that have newly been tested on animals. . . . 

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Breaking news: Oregon governor signs law ending cage confinement for egg-laying hens

By on August 12, 2019 with 0 Comments
Breaking news: Oregon governor signs law ending cage confinement for egg-laying hens

We have just secured another monumental win for hens confined in tiny cages in the egg industry. Moments ago, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation championed by the HSUS to require all eggs produced or sold in her state to come from cage-free facilities. With . . . 

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Federal government finalizes changes to weaken Endangered Species Act

By on August 12, 2019 with 8 Comments
Federal government finalizes changes to weaken Endangered Species Act

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson In the past two years, our federal government has waged war against the Endangered Species Act, the bedrock law that protects endangered and threatened animal species and their habitats. Today, despite our hopes that it would take the steps . . . 

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Seeing wolves at Denali? Let’s hope it’s not too late

By on August 9, 2019 with 2 Comments
Seeing wolves at Denali? Let’s hope it’s not too late

Update: On August 13, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang denied an emergency petition from 60 Alaska residents asking the agency to close wolf hunting and trapping on lands adjacent to Denali National Park. He ruled that an emergency order to stop . . . 

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PZP Immunocontraception Conference draws wildlife managers from around the world

By on August 8, 2019 with 3 Comments
PZP Immunocontraception Conference draws wildlife managers from around the world

Today, I’ve turned the blog space over to my colleague, Stephanie Boyles Griffin, Senior Scientist in the HSUS’s Wildlife Protection Department, to relay some news about an important conference concerning non-lethal wildlife management taking place in Montana this week. The gathering is focused on advancing . . . 

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Nashville calls for an end to cruel horse soring

By on August 7, 2019 with 4 Comments
Nashville calls for an  end to cruel horse soring

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson Just weeks after the U.S. House of Representatives’ historic passage of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (H.R. 693), there’s more good news for Tennessee walking horses. The Nashville, TN Metro Council has approved a resolution supporting passage . . . 

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Get some “Humane Voices” in your head

By on August 6, 2019 with 0 Comments
Get some “Humane Voices” in your head

I talk to the media pretty regularly about issues and threats facing animals today and about all that we’re doing to help them. The reality of the media world, though, means that these discussions often get boiled down into 10-second sound bites! Happily, for those . . . 

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