Film screening shines a light on USDA program in desperate need of change

We all need to stand up for coexistence—not war—with native carnivores.The past couple of days brought me to the Bay Area, where the International Fund for Animal Welfare worked in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council to host screenings of “Wild Things”, a new cutting-edge documentary that introduces audiences to a little-known and gravely inhumane lethal predator control program that desperately needs to change.

The program at issue is a branch of the USDA called Wildlife Services. IFAW is part of a national coalition aimed at reforming current Wildlife Services practices toward ones that are progressive, scientifically-sound, and nonlethal.

As illustrated by the infographic below, Wildlife Services wastes millions of taxpayer dollars annually in order to kill millions of coyotes, wolves, bears, mountain lions, and many other carnivores as a subsidy for the livestock industry.

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.

Despite the opposition of IFAW and other conservation and welfare advocates alike like NRDC, HSUS, AWI, Project Coyote, Predator Defense and others, Wildlife Services continues to use all of these methods on both public and private lands. 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.

This is why sharing “Wild Things” with packed houses at the Crest Theater in Sacramento, San Francisco SPCA, and the David Brower Center in Berkeley these past few days was so empowering.

As evidenced by the many discussions I had with audiences during and after the screenings, once people actually learn about this issue, they are moved to take action, readily agreeing that we all need to stand up for coexistence—not war—with native carnivores.


Read and share the IFAW/NRDC infographic below.

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Peter LaFontaine, Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Sonja Van Tichelen, Vice President of International Operations
Vice President of International Operations
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime