Wildlife “Services” Spent $100 Million Killing Animals
Monday, January 05, 2009
A coalition of 110 animal rights and conservation groups including Big Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Christians for Environmental Stewardship signed a letter (PDF) to Tom Vilsack, Barack Obama’s pick for Secretary of Agriculture, urging him to immediately cease the USDA Wildlife Services’ systematic destruction of wildlife on behalf of agribusiness and other farmers and ranchers. The groups advise spending the money instead on educating farmers and ranchers on non-lethal ways to protect their livestock, by improving their fencing and installing precautionary measures like sirens.
In 2007, Wildlife Services spent $100 million to kill 2,420,270 animals, including more than 37,000 that were killed from helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Almost half of the kills (1,176,647) were European starlings, which were first introduced into the United States in 1890 as part of one man’s program to introduce to New York City’s Central Park all birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays. Among the other animals killed:
19,586 wild hogs
6.954 laughing gulls
4,733 house finches
511 black bears
336 mountain lions
1 wild sheep
1 flying squirrel
Groups Urge Agriculture Secretary Nominee to Halt Mass Killing of Wildlife (Center for Biological Diversity)
Letter to Tom Vilsack (PDF)
Animals Taken by the Wildlife Services Program—FY 2007 (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service)
Tom Vilsack (Allgov)
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