AWI Seeks to Halt Use of Poison on Coyotes

In January, AWI and allies submitted a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency to cancel the registration of Compound 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate), used in “livestock protection collars” by the USDA’s Wildlife Services program to kill coyotes.

The collars are placed on livestock and release the toxin when predators bite into a pouch affixed to the collar. The petition alleges that the use of Compound 1080 violates the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Under FIFRA, a registered pesticide such as Compound 1080 can only be used on an animal that has been declared a “pest” by the EPA administrator (after providing notice and an opportunity for a hearing). Under FIFRA, a “pest” is a plant or animal that is deemed “injurious to health or the environment.” Coyotes have never been declared a pest under FIFRA; thus, the chemical has been used illegally for years to kill coyotes.

Compound 1080 is highly toxic to mammals, including humans. Dogs are particularly susceptible to the toxin, and nontarget animals are known to die after scavenging poisoned carcasses. Death for animals poisoned by Compound 1080 is extremely painful: Its victims can suffer for days from convulsions, vomiting, hallucinations, intense pain, and other symptoms until they collapse. The petition details much safer, more humane, and more targeted methods of protecting livestock from coyotes—such as guard animals, fencing and enclosures for pregnant and newborn animals, and automated alarms and other scare devices.