Every year the government poisons, traps and guns down hundreds of thousands of our nation's most majestic animals—including wolves, coyotes, grizzly bears and mountain lions—at the request of a minority of anti-wildlife special interests. We're spreading the message that we need to co-exist with, not kill, these beautiful animals. We're asking Congress to defund and increase oversight of this rogue bureaucracy.
Few taxpayers realize that we help fund a program called "Wildlife Services," a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, that wages a dirty war on America's wildlife. Between 2004 and 2011, Wildlife Services killed over 26 million animals purportedly to “protect” agribusiness or “bolster” hunting opportunities: a contention based on unsupported myths. The program spends over $100 million each year to kill wildlife.
In fiscal year (FY) 2010, Wildlife Services admitted it killed 5 million animals, including 112,781 native carnivores such as coyotes, wolves, bobcats, cougars, badgers and bears. But its numbers are suspect. In 2010, the program also belatedly admitted to poisoning 4 million starlings, black birds and others in 2009.
In FY 2011,Wildlife Services admitted it killed fewer non-native starlings, but more native carnivores, for a total of 3.8 million reported animals. Many of the victims were unintended, including household pets such as cats and dogs. The veracity of Wildlife Services’ self-reported body count is suspect because it is politically expedient for them to under-report their total kills. One former agent stated that Wildlife Services' agents routinely avoid counting non-target kills.
In FY 2013, Wildlife Services’ admitted body count increased to over 4.3 million animals representing dozens of species, including over 2 million animals native to the U.S. The program’s annual report (which, as noted, must be taken with a grain of salt) acknowledged responsibility for the deaths of over 75,326 coyotes, 24,390 beavers, 13,048 prairie dogs, 3,706 foxes, 876 bobcats, 419 black bears, 345 cougars, 321 wolves including 1 critically imperiled Mexican gray wolf, and at least 3 domestic animals including household pets in one year alone.
WildEarth Guardians is holding Wildlife Services accountable by:
- Raising public awareness through ad campaigns and other media outreach efforts.
- Demanding accountability from Wildlife Services and decision-makers at every level.
- Petitioning the Obama administration to end aerial gunning and poisoning of wildlife on federal public lands.
- Asking our members and supporters to call on their Congressperson to investigate and defund Wildlife Services’ killing programs.
- Working through an administrative process since 2007 to ban sodium cyanide M-44s and Compound 1080.
- Strategic litigation against their entire outdated program.
By eliminating Wildlife Services, we will give our native wildlife the freedom to roam and to shape the iconic landscapes that are our national treasures.
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