Wildlife Services (WS), an obscure federal agency operating under the US Department of Agriculture, kills large numbers of wildlife each year using such inhumane methods on behalf of agricultural interests. In 2018 alone, WS exterminated nearly 1.5 million native animals.
One method used is M-44s, or “cyanide bombs”, which are spring loaded tubes that send a spray of cyanide poison up in a plume when triggered. These weapons are planted on both public and private lands. In 2017 in Poccatello, Idaho, a M-44 planted by WS 350 feet from a family home exploded in the face of Canyon Mansfield, a young boy, and his dog Kasey, wounding Canyon and killing Kasey.
Canyon’s parents Theresa and Fahy Mansfield have subsequently launched a national campaign to ban cyanide bombs. After the 2017 incident, Idaho imposed a moratorium on M-44s. Last year, Oregon became the first state to ban them outright. In contrast, Trump’s EPA has recently authorized use nationwide.
In May 2019, “Canyon’s Law”, which seeks a nationwide ban on M-44s, was reintroduced in Congress, while Jeff Merkley of Oregon introduced a companion bill in the Senate. The bill is currently stalled in Congress, but Canyon’s family isn’t giving up the fight. As he heads toward college, Canyon says, ”We are going to find a way to keep Wildlife Services up at night until we get this done.”
Read more on M44’s and Canyon’s story through the Guardian article, here.