Lethal Control - A documentary on M-44 'cyanide bombs'
Name: Lethal Control - A documentary on M-44 'cyanide bombs'
Date: May 18, 2019
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM MDT
Montana filmmaker Jamie Drysdale’s documentary film, Lethal Control, will make its Idaho debut at three screenings in mid-May: Ketchum – Thursday, May 16th, 6:00 pm, The Community Library Boise – Friday, May 17th, 7:00 pm, Bishop Barnwell Room, Student Union, Boise State Univ. Pocatello – Saturday, May 18th, 7:00 pm The Bengal Theater Each film screening will be accompanied by a panel discussion led by Drysdale, WWP’s Erik Molvar, Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense, and in Pocatello and Ketchum also members of the Mansfield family, whose child and dog were sprayed by cyanide from an M-44 set by Wildlife Services outside Pocatello in 2017. The film was Drysdale’s final project while getting his Masters of Environmental Journalism from the University of Montana. The documentary, slated to air on Montana PBS, provides penetrating insights into the costs and consequences of USDA Wildlife Services’ use of M-44 ‘cyanide bombs’ to kill native predators at the behest of the livestock industry. Drysdale traveled to Washington, D.C. to present the documentary at a congressionally-sponsored screening on Capitol Hill organized by Predator Defense and the International Fund for Animal Welfare on April 2nd of this year. The film was introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) who is sponsoring federal legislation to make the use of M-44s — by federal agencies or anyone else — a criminal offense nationwide (photos available upon request). “The stories surrounding M-44 cyanide ejectors that I encountered in my reporting were so raw, universally alarming, and so under-covered in the media," said Drysdale. “I knew I had the potential to create something compelling that was personally meaningful and had a real chance to make a difference.” The film takes an up close and personal look at the impacts of lethal predator control focusing on the use by the federal government of M-44 cyanide ejector devices. M-44s are currently used by the federal government on both public and private land in 14 states, including Montana. These “cyanide bombs” have caused serious injuries to unsuspecting people and the deaths of beloved family pets, and other non-target animals. "Thirty years working with victims of 'cyanide bombs' have shown me there is no way M-44s can ever be used safely," said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense. "The reason is simple: The devices are indiscriminate and no child, dog or wild animal can read a warning sign. I am very grateful for the heartfelt and eloquent way Jamie Drysdale's film introduces people we've helped and is convincing so many that M-44s must be banned." In 2017, 14 year-old Canyon Mansfield, out for a walk with his dog Casey near their family home in Pocatello, Idaho, came across one of these devices which look like an odd sprinkler head. When he touched it a powdery substance exploded from the device. His dog Kasey died a horrifying death within minutes in front of him and Canyon has suffered long-term health effects from the poison. “The Mansfield family’s reaction to the tragedy was to take action,” said Drysdale. “Canyon’s perseverance in his quest for justice for his yellow lab was such an inspiration for me.” “Not one more child should be injured from these deadly cyanide bombs, and not one more family pet should be murdered,” said Theresa Mansfield, the mother of Canyon Mansfield. In addition to Canyon’s story, the film also includes interviews with other M-44 victims (including Dennis Slaugh, who suffered long-term complications resulting from his poisoning by an M-44 before dying in 2018), current and former Wildlife Services employees, environmental professionals, scientists, and local law enforcement officials. “There is no way that M-44s can be deployed on public or even private lands without the risk of further fatal tragedies,” said Erik Molvar, Executive Director for Western Watersheds Project. “We hope this documentary will be the wake-up call that leaders in state and federal government need to make a permanent end to M-44 use throughout Idaho.” Jamie Drysdale’s Bio Jamie Drysdale grew up in Vermont and graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 with degree in Politics and Media. He moved out to Idaho shortly afterwards and through jobs as an outdoor educator and organic farmer, as well as a few summers in the US Forest Service, he became very well acquainted with the myriad of environmental issues interwoven with life in the West. Seeking to further his abilities to turn these issues into stories, Jamie pursued a graduate degree from the University of Montana in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism, “Lethal Control” was his thesis film. Jamie Graduated in 2018 and now lives with his girlfriend, their two cats and their dog Blueberry in Stevensville, Montana.