USDA allows agency to indiscriminately kill thousands of animals in the U.S.

Mountain lion cubs

Mountain lion cubs are threatened by our federal agencies

Wildlife in America is under siege – not only by climate change but also, in a more sinister capacity, by an agency sanctioned by the USDA.

Wildlife Services (WS), which began as Animal Damage Control, started out killing pests and added predators to its list of targets in 1914. The agency has since expanded its services and has continued killing hundreds of thousands of native animals every year under the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). A series of articles by Tom Knudson that were published in the Sacramento Bee in 2012. revealed many of the problems within the agency.

The agency has been accused of wantonly killing wildlife, including endangered species, using methods that range from using poisons, traps and snares to aerial gunning and employing snipers. It has also been accused of illegal activity, coverups, falsifying reports, injuring people and killing family pets. Employees have been found guilty of horrific and intentional acts of animal cruelty without facing disciplinary actions.

Gruesome wolf slaughter isn't just by hunters

Gruesome wolf slaughter isn’t just by hunters

For decades WS has gone unchecked. Biologists question the lack of science behind the killing, conservation organizations file lawsuits to stop the slaughter of wildlife and concerned citizens write letters and sign petitions both pleading and demanding the government find better solutions, all while we, the general public, foot the bill for the rising slaughter.

The USDA’s inspector general will now finally be investigating the agency, following requests from Reps. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) and John Campbell (R-Irvine), who are calling for “a complete audit of the culture within Wildlife Services,” reports the LA Times.

The news of the investigation also follows a formal petition filed in December by the Center for Biological Diversity and other organizations calling for reform.

Predator Defense is also working to raise awareness and ignite calls for change and will be screening Exposed: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife, a new documentary featuring whistleblowers who have come out in opposition to WS.

Here’s a direct quote from the WS’s website as to its purpose:

Prairie dogs are vital to helping restore our grasslands yet ranchers and agencies poison them as "pests"

Prairie dogs are vital to helping restore our grasslands yet ranchers and agencies poison them as “pests”

“The mission of USDA APHIS Wildlife Services (WS) is to provide Federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.  … Program biologists apply the integrated wildlife damage management approach to provide technical assistance and direct management operations in response to requests for assistance. WS NWRC research scientists are dedicated to the development of wildlife damage management methods.”

If the agency’s purpose is truly to “allow people and wildlife to coexist:”, then it seems its management skills need a major overhaul. Killing isn’t management; it’s murder in its truest form. Perhaps federal employees tasked with wildlife management need to go back to school and relearn what it means to properly manage wildlife so that it thrives – and take killing out of the equation.

2 Responses

  1. This makes me absolutely sick! As a native California, animals are close to my heart, as is our beautiful lands. I thought we protected wildlife here, as a matter of course. How can this be????

    THIS AGENCY NEEDS TO BE STOPPED!!! I can’t imagine who wants their taxes spent on funding this agency–or one single job–for it tobe carried out like this. Better to lose some livestock rather than a single endangered or rare innocent!!!

  2. The USDA’s NRCS I thought was supposed to help people help the land but here in Georgia, they are handing out federal grants and contracts to elected officials to install waste and waste water storages against zoning on property recorded as timberland. I have talked to not one soul that cares. What is our government doing to make positive natural resource changes and protecting wildlife? You may call me a tree hugger if you like, but installing a waste storage facility 100 feet from your neighbor’s window on a timberland easement and getting paid by the government to do so should be criminal.

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