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Colorado First Gentleman Joins Wildlife Advocates in Demanding End to Use of Sodium Cyanide Bombs

December 18, 2019
Lindsay Larris, (310) 923-1465, LLarris@wildearthguardians.org
In This Release

Denver, Colorado – WildEarth Guardians (Guardians), as part of a coalition of environmental organizations, join the First Gentleman of Colorado, in calling for congressional delegates to support a total ban on “M-44” cyanide bombs, deadly poisons used exclusively by the federal wildlife-killing program, Wildlife Services. Known to cause an excruciating death to both target and non-target animals, the reckless use of these biocides is not only an environmental concern, but presents a threat to public safety as well.

Indiscriminate by design, a cyanide bomb even poisoned a child, Canyon, and killed his family dog in 2017. Beyond this incident, the devices have caused the death of numerous family pets and endangered species. Cyanide bombs can be placed on public lands, and are often in undisclosed locations, posing a threat to any unsuspecting person or animal. According to Wildlife Services’ own data, at least 12 of these deadly devices were deployed in Colorado in 2018. Despite overwhelming public opposition, earlier this month the EPA issued an interim decision approving “M-44s” continued use.

In May 2019, Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced companion bills, in the House and Senate, respectively, known as “Canyon’s Law” (HR 2471/S 1301). Canyon’s Law would ban the use sodium cyanide devices as well as Compound 1080, another dangerous poison used for predator management. To date, the House bill has 19 co-sponsors, including CO Representatives Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter, while the Senate bill has three co-sponsors, none of whom are from Colorado.

“In Colorado we value the humane treatment of animals, whether they are in our homes or on our public lands.” Stated First Gentleman Marlon Reis.

Nonprofits joining the First Gentleman in calling for support of this important legislation include WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, the Humane Society of the United States, the Sierra Club, Animal Welfare Institute, Boulder Bear Council, Western Watersheds Project, Rocky Mountain Wild, and the Endangered Species Coalition.

“Sodium cyanide bombs have been wreaking havoc on wildlife and pets in the West for decades,” said Lindsay Larris, Wildlife Program Director at WildEarth Guardians’ Denver office. “These devices are indiscriminate and dangerous; their continued use is mind-boggling in light of the numerous alternatives for managing wildlife conflict. We are urging the Colorado delegates to be the leading voice in the West by supporting this commonsense legislation to create lands that are safe for all people and animals.”

Sodium cyanide devices are banned in the states of Oregon, California, Washington. A temporary ban is also in place in Idaho. They are currently only used in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Virginia and West Virginia.