EPA reverses approval of poison traps used to kill wildlife

The public’s outrage and a rush of complaints to the agency is a big contributing factor to the EPA’s sudden change of heart.

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Last week, Trump’s EPA had made the decision to reauthorize the use of deadly cyanide traps to kill the wild animals that threaten agriculture. But according to the Associated Press, the EPA decided, yesterday, to reverse this authorization. 

“I am announcing a withdrawal of EPA’s interim registration review decision on sodium cyanide, the compound used in M-44 devices to control wild predators. I look forward to continuing this dialogue to ensure U.S. livestock remain well-protected from dangerous predators while simultaneously minimizing off-target impacts on both humans and non-predatory animals,” says EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. 

These traps have been nicknamed “cyanide bombs” as they are spring-loaded devices that discharge sodium cyanide to kill its victims. They are frequently used by the USDA Wildlife Services to kill animals that are considered pests to ranchers and farmers. Animals like foxes, bears, birds, and coyotes are usually primary targets.  

Environmental groups and critics argue that these traps cause long-term pollution issues and are responsible for harming more than their intended targets. Pets and people have been harmed by these devices. 

According to HuffPost, two years ago one of these death traps was triggered in a city in Idaho where a 14-year-old boy was walking his dog. The dog died a violent death and the teen was rushed to the hospital suffering from exposure to the poison. The boy did recover, his parents did sue the USDA’s Wildlife Services, and Idaho stopped using the traps altogether.  

Let’s hope, after careful analysis from the EPA, these devices will be banned from USDA Wildlife Service and public use.

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