Because they just can’t resist leaving an area of policy untouched (or something), the Trump administration has now rolled out a new plan for the continued use of controversial poison traps targeting wild animals that frequently have killed non-target animals, pets, and even injured people. The devices are known as “cyanide bombs” and function by luring animals with bait and then forcing sodium cyanide into their mouths, which has the effect of quick death. A large number of public interests have come out in opposition to the devices in the time since the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened up their plan for public comment late last year — but the president’s team doesn’t seem to care.
The Center for Biological Diversity’s Collette Adkins insisted:
‘Cyanide traps can’t be used safely by anyone, anywhere. While the EPA added some restrictions, these deadly devices have caused too much harm to remain in use. We need a permanent nationwide ban to protect people, pets and imperiled wildlife from this poison.’
The restrictions that the EPA incorporated into their renewal of the devices include demands for warning signs placed closer to the actual devices, keeping the devices further away from public thoroughfares, and warning people who live nearby where the devices are placed about their presence. Just last year, CBS News notes that “a family in Idaho sued the government for more than $150,000 after a cyanide trap near their homethe previous year.” The Trump administration blamed the family for the mishap, and their legal battle appears to still be ongoing. In the meantime, the EPA plans to keep the cyanide bombs 100 feet from roadways and the like instead of the previous 50 feet and put warnings within 15 feet of each device instead of 25.
Still, as one advocate noted — some of those most prone to be negatively affected, injured, or killed by the devices can’t read them. Pet dogs and young kids and the like aren’t exactly well-poised to benefit from warning signs, no matter where they’re placed.
Discussing the devices, Predator Defense’s Executive Director Brooks Fahy insisted:
‘In my 25 years working with M-44 victims I’ve learned that Wildlife Services’ agents frequently do not follow the use restrictions. And warning signs will not prevent more dogs, wild animals and potentially children from being killed. They cannot read them. M-44s are a safety menace and must be banned.’
This is not the first occasion on which the Trump administration has run up against safety concerns like this. Just this month, the same EPA decided to reject a challenge to the agricultural use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to brain damage and other issues in children. The Obama administration had banned the pesticide, but that move was overturned by Trump’s first EPA chief, the notoriously corrupt Scott Pruitt. A federal appeals court sent that decision back to the drawing board, but the Trump team has again come out with an allowance for the dangerous chemical as what’s turned out to be one way of many in which they’re upending standards of safety.
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