As in past years, Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.) continues his campaign to rid Wildlife Services (WS) of its ability to manage conflicts between livestock and wildlife by banning the use of Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide.
The legislation (H.R.5643), introduced last week, would prohibit the use, production, sale, importation or exportation of sodium fluoroacetate (known as Compound 1080) and to prohibit the use of sodium cyanide used in M44s for predator control.
The legislation, rather than routing it through the Agriculture Committee as in the past, has been referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the Judiciary Committee.
In February of 2009, formal requests by animal rights groups to eliminate the use of Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide was rejected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA conducted an extensive review of the products and their use by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and concluded that they do not pose a significant danger to other animals, people or the environment.
The claims by Wild Earth Guardians to support this legislation are the same arguments the EPA officially disagreed with in the 2009 memorandums to the organization. The activists go so far as to claim human safety and terrorist threats to the United States due to these products. The EPA stated that the agency believes, and Department of Homeland Security agrees, that cancellation is not necessary from a homeland security perspective.
The EPA even stated that the arguments made by the animal activist groups were unpersuasive and responded that it seemed their issues were directed against lethal predator control practices in general, rather than the registration of M-44s and 1080 specifically.
Compound 1080, used in livestock protection collars, and cyanide-loaded M-44s are just two devices used by WS to protect livestock from predators like coyotes and both are only used in limited circumstances, where other methods are not appropriate or effective.
"The sheep industry actively supports wildlife damage management because it is absolutely crucial to protect our animals from the wasteful death and injury caused by predators," stated Peter Orwick, executive director of the American Sheep Industry Association. "In 2009, the EPA rejected the very same arguments and misinformation given by animal rights groups on the use of these products. Therefore, we believe there is powerful documentation and scientific review that the U.S. House of Representatives can rely upon to reject this legislation."
Official correspondence, as well as the USDA documents supporting the continued use of these products can be found at www.sheepusa.org/Background.