Promising news for native carnivores
A little-known branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) called Wildlife Services wastes millions of taxpayer dollars each year in order to kill nearly 100,000 native carnivores— coyotes, wolves, bears, mountain lions, and more—as a subsidy for the livestock industry.
Another disturbing aspect of this shameful assault on wildlife is that most of Wildlife Services’ actions are done amid such secrecy that very few citizens even know it exists.
We do know that Wildlife Services uses the worst of the worst when it comes to inhumane practices, including but not limited to aerial shooting, a variety of poisons like sodium cyanide and Compound 1080, and traps like leg-holds, snares, and Conibears. These indiscriminate techniques have also brought a host of accidental victims that include federally protected species and companion animals.
We also know that, despite being funded by taxpayers, Wildlife Services continually fails to specify how much money it spends on lethal versus nonlethal methods of predator control and that former Wildlife Services employees have claimed that USDA hides the full truth about how many animals and what types of animals are killed.
Recently, U.S. Representatives DeFazio (D-OR), Campbell (R-CA), and Peters (D-CA) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s internal watchdog, its Office of Inspector General (OIG), asking them to prioritize a planned audit of Wildlife Services’ predator control program in 2014. The OIG also heard from many caring citizens.
I am happy to report that I have just received word that OIG has committed to including an audit of Wildlife Services in their FY14 plan!
This marks progress. Stay tuned for more updates.
We all need to stand up for coexistence—not war—with native carnivores.
P.S. Check out a groundbreaking documentary that just released this week by coalition partner Predator Defense: EXPOSED: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife. Whistle-blowers go on the record showing Wildlife Services for what it really is.