OR Feds Step Up Against Cyanide Devices on Public Land

Oregon made a legislative hat-trick on Thursday with Rep. Peter DeFazio, Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Jeff Merkeley bringing “Canyon’s Law” to the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Senate Floor respectively.  

The proposed law – named for Canyon Mansfield of Idaho boy whose dog accidentally activated an M-44 cyanide device on Bureau of Land Management land – is titled H.R. 4951 and would outlaw these devices, which are meant to kill coyotes, on federal land. Mansfield watched his dog die, and he has had significant health issues related to his own exposure to the cyanide as well. 

“These cruel and deadly devices kill family pets and hundreds of unintended wildlife,” said Rep. DeFazio to the committee. “People have been injured as well and unless we ban these devices, it is only a matter of time before someone is killed. There are other proven, low-cost, and established ways to protect livestock.”  

“Oregon’s 2019 decision to ban cyanide bombs should send a clear message to Congress. It’s time to do the right thing and ban M-44s before another child is poisoned or another dog is killed.  A public lands ban of these horrific devices will go a long way towards that goal,” said Brooks Fahy, Executive Director of the national wildlife advocacy group, Predator Defense, who has worked with M-44 victims for nearly 30 years.  

As DeFazio spoke to the committee, Merkeley introduced the bill to the senate floor with Wyden as a co-sponsor.   

“Cyanide bombs do not belong on public lands,” said Merkley. “These dangerous devices have no safeguard for our families and our pets, threatening animals and humans alike. More effective, safe, and humane predator control options are available, and should be the only options used on public lands.”  

USDA Wildlife Services regularly use the M-44 device in their predator control programs, which are subsidized by taxpayers.  

By Sally K Lehman 

Correction: In our original article we said that these devices were meant to kill wolves. They are actually meant to kill coyotes. This has been fixed.

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