USDA to hold informational sessions on M-44 cyanide traps in Idaho

Posted at 9:44 PM, Jul 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-24 23:44:02-04

The U.S Department of Agriculture will explain its use of cyanide traps at three public meetings around Idaho this week, but some think the meetings are the first step in bringing back the controversial devices to Idaho after a halt was placed on them earlier this year. 

The USDA Wildlife Services program said that M-44's are an important tool in reducing the loss of livestock to predators, but they agreed to stop using the device after a boy was injured and his dog was killed while walking near their home in Pocatello.

Wildlife Services said they understand the publics concern regarding the use of M-44's, thus they are offering the sessions around the state to provide information about the devices.

They said that coyotes, foxes, and feral dogs cause substantial damage to farmers and they are committed to the safe and responsible use of the devices.

Wildlife and public safety advocates said they are concerned the agency may be holding the informational sessions to placate critics while preparing to resume the use of M-44's.

"There are so many other alternatives that you can use to protect livestock these days such as guard dogs or various other things something call flagary which is basically like flags that scare away wolves and coyotes," said Kristin Ruether, an attorney for Western Watersheds.

An informational session is set to take place on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn near the Boise Airport. 

Wildlife and public safety groups say they are planning to show up an hour early to protest the use of the device.