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Bill To Ban Cyanide Traps Is Headed To Governor’s Desk

Oregon Legislature

Oregon lawmakers have signed off on a bill that would ban the use of cyanide devices to control predators.

The devices are nicknamed “cyanide bombs” by people who oppose their use. They’re embedded in the ground and are triggered when something steps on them, shooting a lethal dose of the poison into the air. They’re meant to kill coyotes that prey on livestock, and the Oregon Farm Bureau testified against the measure to ban them.

Rep. Greg Barreto, R-Cove, said Senate Bill 580 would take a valuable tool away from efforts to control predators. "Over here in western Oregon I don't think you have the same issues that we have in eastern Oregon," he said.

But supporters of the measure including Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale, said the devices have killed household pets and injured humans.  “We’re talking about something that indiscriminately injects, or gives a dose of cyanide, to people or animals," said Gorsek. "To my mind, it’s almost like having little landmines out in the landscape.”

The bill passed the Oregon House and Senate by wide margins, and is awaiting action by Oregon Governor Kate Brown.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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