USDA’s Wildlife Services Killed Over 1.2 Million Animals in 2019
Wildlife Services – formerly called “Animal Damage Control” – is a federal agency that shoots, traps, and poisons wild animals en masse at the behest of state governments, agricultural interests, and more.
According to the agency’s website, Wildlife Services “to improve the coexistence of people and wildlife” and “strives to develop and use wildlife damage management strategies that are biologically sound, environmentally safe, and socially acceptable“. But earlier this week, Wildlife Services released its up-to-date Program Data Report about its nationwide operations in 2019 and, as usual, the numbers are far from “socially acceptable“, they’re downright shocking.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s wildlife-killing program killed more than 1.2 million native animals last year, including:
- 62,002 coyotes
- 24,543 beavers
- 800 bobcats
- 1362 gray foxes
- 1280 red foxes
- 400 black bears
- 302 gray wolves
- 308 cougars
- and many, many more
Funded with millions of taxpayer dollars, and without modern scientific support, this program uses cruel and often archaic methods to capture and kill wild animals that come between ranchers or farmers and their profits.
WildEarth Guardians, a conservation organization based in New Mexico, sued Wildlife Services today for operating on decades-old science to support its killing-program in New Mexico, and for violating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in its failure to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for its activities.
Emerging science indicates that lethal management, and especially indiscriminate killing of native carnivores, is often ineffective at managing conflict and mitigating economic damage caused by wildlife. Indiscriminate killing can even exacerbate conflict.