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The M-44 device, as it’s known, is used by the government agency Wildlife Services – to control the population of animals that prey on livestock.
When triggered, it sprays whoever touches it with sodium cyanide, a highly poisonous substance that can kill instantly. The device has been criticised by conservationists for a number of reasons.
The main concern is unintended victims – including people, pets and endangered species. In 2017 for example, the trap temporarily blinded a 14-year-old boy and killed his dog. The family sued the state for more than 150,000 dollars.
The use of cyanide traps is banned in certain states, but activists are calling for a nationwide ban.
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