Despite strong opposition from environmentalists and others, the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced this past week that it had reauthorized the use of spring-loaded poison devices known as “cyanide bombs” to kill coyotes, foxes and other animals that prey on livestock.

The devices, officially called M-44s, have been used continuously for more than four decades by Wildlife Services, a program within the United States Department of Agriculture. When a predator stumbles across one of these devices, a capsule containing sodium cyanide, a highly toxic pesticide, is ejected into its mouth.

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