SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Records show New Mexico agricultural officials have approved fewer licenses for the use of cyanide bombs — a device deployed by ranchers to kill coyotes.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports records show state-issued licenses for cyanide bombs has declined from 86 in 2015 and 2016 to 54 in 2019. That’s a 37% reduction.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week reauthorized the use of devices known as cyanide bombs targeting coyotes.
Ranchers say they still need the devices, also known as M-44s, to kill hungry coyotes, which can cost the industry thousands of dollars a year in livestock losses.
Environmentalists say the devices are a horrible way to kill coyotes and point to collateral damage inflicted on dogs and other animals. They say M-44s also present a risk for humans — even killing a Utah man last year.
New Mexico is one of five states with local agriculture departments — along with Montana, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming — that are authorized to deploy the devices. An M-44 is essentially a trap coated with bait and loaded with a cyanide capsule that ejects into the mouths of animals lured by the scent.