The Government Program that Kills Wild Animals

Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Coyote Pups (photo: Ecobirder)
A little-known office within the U.S. Department of Agriculture has come under scrutiny for killing thousands of animals in the name of helping ranchers and the environment.
Over the past dozen years, Wildlife Services, which has an annual budget of $127 million, has eradicated nearly a million coyotes, millions of birds and members of 300 other species, including black bears, beavers, porcupines, river otters, mountain lions and wolves.
According to an investigation by the Sacramento Bee, many of the killings were found to be “indiscriminate, at odds with science, inhumane and sometimes illegal.”
At least 50,000 animals destroyed since 2000 were not a threat to anyone. Among those needlessly slaughtered were bald eagles and more than 1,100 dogs, including family pets.
Wildlife Services’ actions also have exposed employees and members of the public to cyanide through the use of cartridges laced with poison meant to kill coyotes.
In addition, the agency’s animal-control strategies have altered ecosystems “in ways that diminish biodiversity, degrade habitat and invite disease,” wrote Tom Knudson in the Bee.
For instance, killing too many coyotes has resulted in more “disease-carrying rodents, meadow-munching rabbits, bird-eating feral cats” in some areas, causing more problems for the environment and local residents.
On Monday, the group WildEarth Guardians filed a lawsuit asking that Wildlife Services be shut down because it has refused to conduct environmental assessments to justify its killings.
Among the 3,752,356 animals killed by Wildlife Services in FY 2011 were:
1,500,463 European starlings
678,673 blackbirds
83,242 coyotes
32,573 wild swine
27,842 beavers
9.266 rabbits
5,647 deer
4,820 laughing gulls
4,817 house finches
3,989 ducks
1,913 chickens
1,795 swans
1,277 cats
890 parakeets
574 black bears
534 house mice
405 dogs
402 mountain lions
365 wolves
360 porcupines
345 armadillos
335 turtles
225 monkeys
187 owls
68 woodpeckers
48 chipmunks
31 minks
14 pelicans
13 alligators
12 frogs
3 wild sheep
2 moose
1 bald eagle
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Group Sues USDA over Predator Killing Program (by Scott Sonner, Associated Press)
Animals Taken by Wildlife Services FY 2011 (Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service) (pdf)
USDA Admits Involvement in South Dakota Mass Bird Deaths (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Wildlife “Services” Spent $100 Million Killing Animals (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov) 


pam puffenbarger 11 years ago
What the holly hell is our government doing? They are ruthless better than human killers. We need to get rid of them!
Tsali Ticonderoga 11 years ago
And they are supposed to protect not help murde

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