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Rep. Peter DeFazio Calls for Ban on Lethal Predator Control Poisons

Jun 7, 2017
Press Release
DeFazio is joined by Mansfield family, who lost their beloved dog and whose son was injured after accidentally detonating an M-44 cyanide bomb, in calling for ban

Today, Congressman Peter DeFazio called for the swift passage of his legislation, the Chemical Poisons Reduction Act of 2017, to ban the use of two lethal poisons for predator control purposes.

The Chemical Poisons Reduction Act of 2017, H.R. 1817, would ban the use of Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide for predator control efforts. The bill is supported by Predator Defense, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the Humane Society.

Rep. DeFazio was joined by the Mansfield family, whose 14-year-old son was nearly killed earlier this year after accidentally detonating an M-44 device. The family’s yellow lab, Casey, died as a result of cyanide poisoning from the device.  

“Tragically, the Mansfields are just one of many families who have experienced something like this,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04). “The use of these deadly toxins by Wildlife Services has led to countless deaths of family pets and innocent animals and injuries to humans. It is only a matter of time before they kill someone—Canyon Mansfield is only alive today because of sheer luck.  The federal government should not be using these extreme measures in the name of so-called ‘predator control’.”

"The fact that Wildlife Services continues to state that incidents of M-44s killing domestic dogs and exposing people to poison are 'rare' is an outrage," said Brooks Fahy, Executive Director, Predator Defense. "Those of us involved with this issue know these incidents are common-place and that countless more will never be known because of Wildlife Services' repeated cover-ups. We applaud this legislation and thank Congressman DeFazio for his unfailing support on this issue."

"It's high time for our own federal government to stop using sodium cyanide and Compound 1080 on our public lands,” said Wayne Pacelle, Executive Director, the Humane Society Legislative Fund.” These two poisons are highly lethal but completely indiscriminate. They endanger children, beloved family pets, grizzly bears, wolves and bald eagles alike. And the deaths they cause are violent and inhumane."

Compound 1080 is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless poison with no antidote. Although the EPA banned Compound 1080 in 1972, after intense lobbying from the livestock industry, it was re-approved for use in the "Livestock Protection Collar" (collars containing the poison that are placed around the necks of sheep and burst when punctured by a predator, barbed wire, or other sharp object) in 1985. Each of these collars contains enough poison to kill 6 adult humans.

Sodium cyanide is contained within M-44 devices, which are spring-activated ejectors that deliver a deadly dose of poison when pulled on. The top of the ejector is wrapped with an absorbent material that has been coated with a substance that attracts canines. When the device is activated, a spring ejects the poison. The force of the ejector can spray the cyanide granules up to five feet. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Wildlife Services Agency regularly uses both of these poisons in their predator control programs, which are subsidized by the taxpayer. States contract with federal predator control programs to keep so-called ‘predator’ populations down to help ranchers protect their livestock.

The use of these poisons has led to the deaths of endangered animals and domesticated dogs, and has injured multiple people in the past.

 “These deadly poisons have been proven no more effective than non-lethal methods—the only difference between the two is that the lethal methods supported by the ranching industry are subsidized by American tax dollars,” Rep. Defazio added. “It’s time to stop subsidizing ranchers’ livestock protection efforts with taxpayer dollars and end the unchecked authority of Wildlife Services once and for all.”