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‘Cyanide Bombs’ Now Banned In Oregon

Oregon Legislature

A new law banning so-called “cyanide bombs” took effect with the new year in Oregon.

Oregon is the last west coast state to ban the devices, which are spring-loaded traps that deliver a fatal dose of cyanide poison. They’re meant to kill coyotes but have been blamed for countless deaths of other kinds of wildlife as well as household pets. Oregon lawmakers approved the measure by a wide margin last spring.

Brooks Fahy is the executive director of the Eugene-based wildlife advocacy organization Predator Defense, a group that’s been pushing for a ban for the past three decades. He said their next goal is to get rid of cyanide bombs across the country. “I’m extremely optimistic looking toward the future," said Fahy. "I think a complete ban is within our grasp within the next five years.”  

While the Oregon law kicks in with the new year, Fahy said the US Department of Agriculture phased out their use of the devices in Oregon soon after the bill was signed into law last May.

Fahy said he thinks public sentiment turned against the devices, formally known as "M-44's," after several high-profile incidents, including one almost three years ago in eastern Idaho when a teenage boy was seriously injured when he accidently triggered one of the traps. The cloud of cyanide gas that was released also killed the family dog.

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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