Government Competes with Private Businesses to Kill Wild Animals

Thursday, November 22, 2012
Coyote pups (photo: Ecobirder)

Already under scrutiny for killing vast numbers of wild and domesticated animals, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services is now being criticized for taking work away from private companies hired to control species.


Wildlife Services was the subject of a Sacramento Bee investigation earlier this year that revealed the agency’s animal control efforts over the years had killed millions of wild animals, as well as thousands of family pets, and caused negative impacts on the environment.


But a new story from the Bee reported that Wildlife Services has been competing directly with businesses that also trap and kill animals deemed a nuisance.


“Government is not supposed to compete, head to head, with the private sector when the private sector is already fulfilling the need,” Kevin Clark, chief executive officer of Critter Control, told the Bee. “Nuisance wildlife control operators are more than capable of handling these problems.”


Government records obtained by the newspaper showed Wildlife Services has killed animals on behalf of more than 2,500 customers, including Fortune 500 companies, ranchers, prisons, country clubs, airports, federal agencies and other clients. Corporate clients include BP, Chevron, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, Ford and Toyota, Walt Disney World, Wells Fargo and Pfizer. For this work, the agency was paid $72 million in 2011, an increase of $20 million over what it earned in 2006.


In FY 2011, Wildlife Services killed 3,752,356 animals, including 1,500,463 European starlings, 678,673 blackbirds, 83,242 coyotes, 1,277 cats, 345 armadillos, 12 frogs and 1 bald eagle.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Federal Wildlife Services Competes With Private Animal Control Businesses (by Tom Knudson, Sacramento Bee)

The Government Program that Kills Wild Animals (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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