Richard Nixon is looking
pretty good right now. He created the Environmental Protection Agency. He signed the Endangered Species Act. He also
signed an Executive Order banning poisons that kill native carnivores on
public lands in 1972. That executive order is, sadly, no longer in effect.
In the past few weeks
alone, three tragedies involving use of indiscriminate poisons on our public
lands should give pause to every American. A few weeks ago, a young boy
was harmed and the family dog killed by a cyanide bomb placed on public
land by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s animal damage control agency. Five
days earlier, two families recreating on public lands in Wyoming watched two of
their family dogs die after the animals detonated cyanide devices. And
two weeks before those incidents, a wolf was killed in Oregon by the
same type of device.
These three recent incidents are exactly why extremely dangerous M-44
cyanide bombs, and other indiscriminate tools like traps and poisons that are
deployed to kill wildlife, often targeting majestic native carnivores like
wolves and coyotes, should not be placed on our public lands.
It would be a mistake to call these tragedies accidents. It’s not
an accident if federal employees are knowingly placing deadly devices where
children and companion animals play; that’s extreme and inexcusable negligence.
should be, and I believe is, a bipartisan issue. While liberals and
conservatives may disagree about wolves, can’t we all agree on public safety
issues that affect our children and family companion animals? Is it going to take the death of a child before
the public takes action to prevent the regular and reckless damage caused by
these practices? Sadly, this very well could happen.
The essential questions
are these: how precise are these “cyanide bombs” and how effective are they at
accomplishing their stated goals?
Consider this—more than 50,000 non-target animals have been
killed in this or similar ways. If the USDA has failed 50,000 times regarding
animals, how long before an unsuspecting child is the victim?
But we can make it stop.
WildEarth Guardians is intensifying our End the War on Wildlife campaign to mobilize
more popular support to secure local, state and federal action to end the
barbaric, indiscriminate killing. Just
last week Congressman Peter DeFazio introduced a bill in Congress to ban
predator poisons on our public lands.
earlier this week we filed a lawsuit to force Wildlife Services to stop
using cyanide bombs. Last week we filed a petition with the USDA seeking
to prohibit their use in Idaho. I strongly believe that the American people
firmly support an end to cruelty against our majestic wildlife, and I am
absolutely convinced that every American is opposed to actions that threaten
As an environmentalist, I
am concerned with every needless attack on animals, but even if you aren’t an
environmentalist, you should be concerned about the terrible possibilities
presented by the activities of Wildlife Services (the government agency responsible
for these traps).
Their activities are not
only a threat to public safety, on the most mundane level, they’re also a
massive waste of money. Wildlife Services spends $120 million a year. At
a time when there are so many pressing needs facing our country, from
infrastructure to healthcare, can’t we find a better use for these funds?
Today, I am asking you to
engage. Sign up for more alerts on the campaign at our website. Share this information with others, not just
fellow environmentalists and animal welfare advocates, but anyone you know who
cares about children, or our companion animals, or sound fiscal policy. I think
that should pretty much cover everyone.
Ask them to contact their
congressional representatives and senators. Make phone calls, send letters,
demand town halls and show up in force. We need you to be a foot soldier in our
campaign to End the War on Wildlife. We want you to engage simply because it’s
wrong, but recent events have reminded us that it’s a war with the potential
for collateral damage that is unacceptable to anyone.
In compassionate solidarity,
P.S. If you would rather not receive our Executive Director's blog which comes out approximately monthly, you can opt out here.
photo: Sam Parks Photography