Booting Cyanide Bombs off Public Lands

On July 21, Canyon’s Law (HR 4951/S 4584), a bill to outlaw the use of M-44 devices (a.k.a. cyanide bombs) on public lands, received a hearing in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) had previously introduced the bill in the House. On the day of the House hearing, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced it in the Senate.

coyote - photo by BGSmith
photo by BGSmith

The USDA’s Wildlife Services program uses M-44s as a form of predator control. In 2017, Canyon Mansfield, a 14-year-old Idaho boy, was walking with his dog, Kasey, on BLM land near his home when they accidentally triggered an M-44, which spewed cyanide on them. Canyon has lingering health effects from the exposure. Kasey, who took the blast more directly, died in agony. Canyon and his family have used this nightmarish experience to become powerful advocates against these insidious devices.

Testifying before the subcommittee, Canyon’s father, Dr. Mark Mansfield, recounted that horrific day and urged congressional action. He pointedly asked, “How many pets must be killed, how many children poisoned, and how many families traumatized before meaningful federal action is taken? I am powerless to change what happened to my son, but Congress can ensure that it does not happen to others. Is it going to take the death of a child to ban this antiquated, indiscriminate device?”

Take Action! It is time to stop endangering people, pets, and wildlife and put an end to the use of M-44 cyanide bombs on public lands. Please visit AWI’s online Action Center to urge your US representative and senators to cosponsor Canyon’s Law. Prefer putting ink to paper? Address a letter to your representative as follows: The Honorable [full name], US House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515. Address a letter to each of your senators as follows: The Honorable [full name], US Senate, Washington, DC 20510.