Predator Control and Compound 1080

PREDATOR CONTROL AND COMPOUND 1 0 8 0 XIN: 3 R I Z F NUMBER Ma82241 UPDATED 03/09/84 AUTHOR: Jim Aidala Environment a n d ' N a t u r a 1 Resources Policy D i v i s i o n T H E LIBRARY OF C O N G R E S S CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE MAJOR ISSUES SYSTEM D A T E ORIGINATED 08/09/82 FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION C A L L 287-5700 0504 CRS- 1 ISSUE DEFINITION P r i o r to 1 9 7 2 , sodium monofluoracetate, k n o w n a s Compound 1 0 8 0 , was used to k i l l coyotes which prey on s h e e p in the western range l a n d s , where 8 0 % of U.S. s h e e p a r e raised. In 1 9 7 2 , Compound 1 0 8 0 was banned by executive order from u s e on Federal grazing land after evidence indicated the poison had kllled numerous non-target wildlife. T h i s order and che Z n v ~ r o n r n e n t a l P r o t e c t i o n Agency's (EPA) subsequent cancellation of t h e registration of predator toxicants led to years of protest by sheep r a n c h e r s , who claimed that sheep losses to predators had increased s i n c e 1 9 7 2 a n d that effective and economic alternative predator control techniques did n o t exist. In t h e 97th C o n g r e s s , debate o n the issue escalated because EPA decided to r e e v a l u a t e the use of Compound 1 0 8 0 , possibly re-registering i t f o r use. In 1 9 8 1 , t h e U.S. Department of the Interior applied to EPA for a a t o x i c collar re-registration of t h e compound based on a n e w application intended to make the toxicant safer to u s e and less harmful to non-target species. During t h e summer of 1 9 8 2 , the EPA held hearings o n the topic. on Oct. 2 7 , 1 9 8 2 , a n administrative law judge recommended t h e EPA lift its lO-year suspension of the poison. On Oct. 3 1 , 1 9 8 3 , EPA decided to accep-t the judge's o p i n i o n , which will a l l o w some uses of t h e pesticide. This decision has been appealed i n Federal c o u r t , however. -- -- BACKGROUND Predatory a n i m a l control has been one of t h e most controversial a s p e c t s of wildlife management. In ' 1 9 3 1 , Congress enacted a l a w authorizing the Secretary of Agriculture to cooperate with S t a t e s , i n d i v i d u a l s , and private a g e n c i e s to conduct a n effective predator c o n t r o l program f o r public, S t a t e , o r privately owned lands. T h e resulting predator control program came t o depend heavily on chemical toxicants, which raised problems of indiscriminant poisoning of non- target species. In the early 1960s, a n Advisory Board o n Wildlife Management, headed by A. Starker L e o p o l d , w a s appointed by the Secretary of the Interior t o investigate predator c o n t r o l in the United States. Its 1 9 6 4 r e p o r t , w P r e d a t o r and R o d e n t Control i n t h e United States," was very critical of existing control programs, although i t failed to bring a b o u t significant changes i n predator control policy. T h e a p p o i n t m e n t of a n o t h e r special Advisory Committee on P r e d a t o r Control followed. Its report, 1971," k n o w n a s t h e " C a i n Report," f o r i t s c h a i r m a n , "Predator Control Stanley C a i n , reaffirmed many o f the recommendations of t h e Leopold R e p o r t , and r e c o m m e n d e d f u r t h e r that "immediate congressional a c t i o n be sought to r e m o v e a l l existing toxic chemicals from registration and u s e f o r operational predator control." I t stated: "There h a s been direct a n d circumstantial evidence that t h e large-scale use of poisons for the control of predators...has resulted i n f r e q u e n t losses o f non-target a n i m a l s and t h a t such methods a r e likely to b e inhumane." -- T h e 1 9 7 1 report indicated t h a t necessary predator c o n t r o l c a n be achieved without poison. President Nixon issued Executive Order 1 1 6 4 3 i n 1 9 7 2 , banning the u s e of toxic substances against predators o n F e d e r a l l a n d s except i n emergency situations o r i f directed by Federal officials. The Environmental Protection Agency which regulates predator c o n t r o l chemicals under t h e authority o f the F e d e r a l Insecticide, F u n g i c i d e , a n d Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), subsequently cancelled registration of s t r y c h n i n e , sodium CRS- 2 MB82241 UPDATE-03/09/84 c y a n i d e , and Compound 1080. Alternate p r e d a t o r - c o n t r o l methods used since 1 9 7 2 c o n s i s t of trapping; aerial and ground shooting; denning (killing c o y o t e pups i n their dens) ; snaring; a n d , after 1 9 7 5 , t h e sodium cyanide M-44 device, which i s considered reasonably selective i n reaching target animals. T h e National Wool Growers Association continued t o press for emergency use of Compound 1 0 8 0 , claiming that predator losses were threatening the industry. In 1 9 7 7 , Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus began a detailed study o f the predation problem; and in 1 9 7 9 , he announced a revised Federal policy on predator control. While 1 c increased research on non-lethai and non-capture methods, and on livestock husba,ndry techniques, i t ended research on a n d further use of Compound 1 0 8 0 , and prohibited denning. Livestock growers complained, while environmental groups applauded. H o w e v e r , the Reagan Administration has initiated new policies to facilitate predator control. In November 1 9 8 1 , R o b e r t A. J a n t z e n , director of t h e Fish and Wildlife S e r v i c e , announced that t h e Department of t h e - I n t e r i o r would submit applications for authorization of Compound 1 0 8 0 u s e i n sheep collars to control predators, and would r e v i s e the 2-year-long curtailment of denning s o i t could be used a s a c o n t r o l method i n restricted circumstances. T h e EPA announced a hearing on applications to register EPA Administrator Anne M. Compound 1 0 8 0 i n December 1981 (46 FR 59622). Gorsuch said that n e w evidence might c a l l for a reconsideraticn of t h e EPA's 1 9 7 2 cancellation. L a s t l y , i n January 1 9 8 2 , President Reagan issued Executive Order 1 2 3 4 2 , which revoked P r e s i d e n t Nixon's 1 9 7 2 executive o r d e r , leaving the door open for Compound 1 0 8 0 u s e , pending t h e EPA's reregistration of the chemical. Key Issues (1) R o l e of the Federal Government T h e Federal Government has been involved in predator control s i n c e 1909. A l a r g e percentage of U.S. sheep g r a z e o n Federal land and i t h a s been considered appropriate that the F e d e r a l Government be involved i n predator control o n Federal lands. In a d d i t i o n , the Federal G o v e r n m e n t h a s r o l e s i n under t h e Federal Insecticide, regulating predator Control toxicants a n d i n protecting t h e Nation's w i l d l i f e F u n g i c i d e , a n d Rodenticide Act particularly under t h e Endangered S p e c i e s Act. T h u s , t h e Federal G o v e r n m e n t engages i n potentially conflicting roles: from promoting predator c o n t r o l s to 'maximize protection of livestock, o n o n e hand, t o restricting predator controls to minimize hazards to w i l d l i f e , on the other hand. -- -- -- (2) Extent of P r e d a t o r Damage S i n c e t h e 1 9 7 2 ban o n Compound 1 0 8 0 , sheep r a n c h e r s h a v e claimed substantially increased sheep k i l l s by coyotes. T h e y point o u t t h a t a 1979 U.S. D e p a r t m e n t of Agriculture study s t a t e s that 1 , 2 4 4 , 0 0 0 s h e e p w e r e k i l l e d 1 0 % o f the domestic flock. T h e a c c u r a c y of t h e d a t a o n s h e e p by predators killed by predators, however, has been questioned. Environmental g r o u p s a n d others state that s o m e sheepherders may blame predators for s h e e p l o s t from other causes. -- I n a d d i t i o n , t h e extent of t h e predator problem v a r i e s depending o n ranching techniques and r e g i o n a l characeristics. sheep i n mountainous a r e a s a r e generally more open t o predator tremend'ously, Free-roaming a t t a c k s than CRS- 3 s h e e p confined by fences i n smaller, m o r e restricted grazing areas. Effectiveness of Non-Chemical P r e d a t o r Control Methods Before 1 9 7 2 , livestock ranchers u s e d Compound 1 0 8 0 e x t e n s i v e l y , claiming that it was c h e a p , required little effort, and effectively killed coyotes. Ranchers claim t h a t alternate Control techniques a r e too costly o r considered inhumane, and s t a t e that t h e economic consequences of livestock l o s s e s due t o predation - a r e sufficient reason to continue using chemical: controls. Others, how'ever, state t h a t acceptable alternative predator c o n t r o l techniques exist or a r e currently being developed. Research efforts on predator control techniques i n c l u d e the following: -- Taste aversion research a t California State University have shown that coyotes avoid sheep if ill. Sheep carcasses baited with lithium chloride change their behavior so that they will n o longer C o l l e g e and Colorado S t a t e s h e e p meat has made them make coyotes nauseous and prey on sheep. -- T h e USDA i n Denver i s currently testing the K o m o n d o r , a Hungarian s h e e p d o g , a s a possible protector of flocks. Most predators w i l l n o t approach a flock when o n e or more large d o g s are o n duty. -- U.S. Fish a n d Wildlife Service research biologists have developed a n electronic s c a r e device t h a t employs loud sirens and glaring l i g h t s , act-ivated a t irregular i n t e r v a l s , to s c a r e coyotes a w a y from s h e e p a t n i g h t -- although t h e commotion may disrupt t h e s h e e p , too. T h e long-term effectiveness of these methods on s h e e p grazing l a n d s i s not known a t present although research i s continuing. (4) New C h e m i c a l Control Developments According to t h e EPA, n e w Compound 1 0 8 0 delivery mechanisms may overcome Gorsuch earlier objections to the chemical's use. EPA Administrator Anne M. stated in December 1981: "The 1080 toxic collar a n d single l e t h a l d o s e s (SLD) ,bait s t a t i o n s a r e two delivery mechanisms f o r 1080 which . w e r e n o t considered i n t h e 1 9 7 2 cancellation a n d suspension o r d e r w and which may "greatly reduce t h e exposure o f non-target wildlife t o 1 0 8 0 , compared to t h e use of 1 0 8 0 l a r g e bait stations." T h e toxic c o l l a r , which i s strapped around the neck of a s h e e p or g o a t , contains two Compound 1080-filled compartments t h a t a r e broken when a predator tries to bite the throat of t h e prey, exposing t h e predator to a lethal oral d o s e of 1080. T h e toxic collar device i s largely selective t o coyotes and o n l y k i l l s the a n i m a l s that attack sheep. T h e SLD bait consists of a piece of meat containing just enough 1 0 8 0 to k i l l t h e c o y o t e that eats it. Prior t o 1 9 7 2 , the l a r g e bait station, a s h e e p , c a l f , or horse c a r c a s s injected with 1 0 8 0 , was the Only common delivery mechanism. G o r s u c h claims that the SLD bait has advantages over large bait s t a t i o n s because t h e d o s e of a n individual b a i t can be limited to a n a m o u n t t h a t i s sufficient to k i l l a canine predator but not a s p e c i e s less sensitive t.0 1080 a n d i s , t h e r e f o r e , l e s s dangerous to non-target wildlife. Gorsuch stated that n e w d a t a "may i n d i c a t e that t h e risk of secondary poisoning i s l o w e r than originally thought i n 1972." Compound 1080 had been accused of causing secondary poisoning to wildlife. T h i s means t h a t . other a n i m a l s were poisoned a s a result of feeding on the carcass of t h e a n i m a l directly receiving the poison. T h i s secondary poisoning w a s believed to b e CRS- 4 MB82241 UPDATE-03/09/84 limited largel'y to e a g l e s , which feed extensively o n coyote carcasses. In a d d i t i o n , before 1 9 7 2 , the EPA only registered the l a b e l of a t o x i c a n t a n d did not h a v e the authority to regulate directly the use of a chemical o n c e i t was registered. In effect, banning a chemical was the only direct-use Control. Since 1 9 7 2 , h o w e v e r , the EPA has had t h e authority to control the u s e o f chemicals. N o w , if a chemical like Compound 1 0 8 0 i s r e g i s t e r e d , t h e EPA w i l l be a b l e to restrict i t s use to certified a p p l i c a t o r s and to enforce use restrictions,. Administrative Action T h e EPA held hearings in August 1 9 8 2 on applications to register Compound 1080. T h e purpose of the hearings was to review the evidence and d e t e r m i n e whether it justified changing or reversing the 1972 cancellation. Representatives of environmental groups and s h e e p ranchers, a n d State and. F e d e r a l employees g a v e testimony. On Oct. 2 7 , 1 9 8 2 , a n administrative l a w judge recommended the EPA l i f t i t s 10-year ban on the use of Compound 1080. The judge restricted the u s e , h o w e v e r , to t h e toxic collar and to the single lethal dose bait method. He further recommended the single lethal dose bait method be restricted to use by government employees because i t i s more dangerous to a p p l y than the t o x i c collar and i s m o r e susceptible to abuse. T h e Administrator of EPA had 30 d a y s or until Nov. 2 7 , 1 9 8 2 , i n which to decide whether to a c c e p t the judge's recommendation; t h e decision can then be appealed to Federal Court. In early H o w e v e r , a decision was delayed 1 9 8 3 , a decision w a s reported t o b e a t hand. by t h e controversies that engulfed EPA, controversies t h a t lead to Administrator Burford's resignation. William Ruckelshaus, h e r successor a n d t h e original Administrator of E P A , removed himself from the d e c i s i o n because he had banned t h e pesticide in 1972. T h e decision thus f e l l to EPA Assistant Administrator L e e T h o m a s , who decided o n Oct. 3 1 , 1 9 8 3 , essentially to a c c e p t t h e judge's opinion. T h e decision w i l l a l l o w EPA to consider the toxic collar f o r a F e d e r a l registration under Section 3 of FIFRA. T h e single l e t h a l d o s e b a i t s , however, w i l l be subjected to f u r t h e r assessment. Accordingly, these b a i t s c a n be considered for experimental uses and other non-Section 3 registrations, and will be subject t o a variety of restrictions governing their application. Court a p p e a l s may further delay a n y registration activity. Congressional Action S i n c e P r e s i d e n t Nixon's 1 9 7 2 executive o r d e r , Congress h a s been a c t i v e o n t h e predator c o n t r o l issue. Hearings h a v e been held and a number of bills have been i n t r o d u c e d , some to confirm statutorily the ban o n predator c o n t r o l chemicals, o t h e r s to ease the ban; none h a s been enacted. 1n the 9 7 t h C o n g r e s s , H.R. 1 9 5 6 , the Animal D a m a g e Control Act of 1 9 8 1 , w a s proposed; the bill directs t h e Secretary of t h e Interior to permit the u s e of lethal a n d chemical toxicants (including Compound 1080) i n carrying o u t a predator c o n t r o l program.