Did you know that United States government has employed M-44s, or cyanide bombs, to kill animals? Activists campaigning against the use of cyanide capsules just won a small victory: the United States Agriculture Department’s Wildlife Services will suspend their use in Colorado during an environmental analysis.
The Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians filed a lawsuit in April saying Wildlife Services didn’t fully asses the potential impact of killing bears and cougars on other native wildlife such as the Canada lynx in Colorado, according to Reuters. Federal officials had also intended to shoot up to 75 bears and 45 mountain lions.
Under a recent stay of the lawsuit, Wildlife Services must finish a new environmental assessment by August 1 of next year. They’ll evaluate the consequences of their predator-control actions, according to Reuters. Under the agreement they will not use or fund the use of M-44s on Colorado public lands. They also won’t hunt or trap mountain lions or black bears to study the impact on ungulate populations.
Attorney Matthew Bishop of the Western Environmental Law Center said in a statement, “This agreement represents a sign of good faith moving forward to do the right thing when it comes to Colorado’s wildlife and ecosystems. It’s a big swing to go from deciding to ignore the best available science to halting potentially harmful wildlife killing while improving the science.”
This isn’t the only time cyanide bombs have made headlines this year. An M-44 killed a family dog and sprayed a 14-year-old boy in Idaho earlier this year. The boy’s father, physician Mark Mansfield, reportedly said in a petition to the White House, “The USDA maintains they resolve conflict between wildlife and people ‘in the safest and most humane ways possible,’ but the nature of the cyanide bomb is neither safe nor humane. Cyanide gas has been used throughout history to murder masses of people.”