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Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704
Exposed: The USDA's Secret War on Wildlife
Posted July 2013
Watch youtube video here:
Description: They've been at it for almost a century, killing, maiming,
poisoning, brutalizing wildlife....and they think they are going to
continue getting away with it. A senior Congressman and three former
Federal agents take on the US Department of Agriculture, in this new
film exposing the government's war on wildlife.
From PredatorDefense website...
We're working to reform
Wildlife Services' lethal and indiscriminate predator control
program. It wastes millions of taxpayer dollars using methods that are
ineffective, cruel, and hazardous to humans and pets.
USDA Wildlife Services is the only federal
program that kills native predators at the request of ranchers and state
wildlife management agencies. Changing the barbaric, indiscriminate and
wasteful predator control methods used by Wildlife Services is a primary
focus of our legislative work. Read more
Sacramento Bee Exposé on
Wildlife Services Leads to Call for Congressional Investigation
We've been working for several years with Tom Knudson, a Pulitzer
Prize-winning journalist from the Sacramento Bee, on an exposé on USDA
Wildlife Services' out-of-control "predator control" program. The Bee
came through with an impressive, in-depth piece of investigative
journalism indicting this brutal government program, along with a number
of insightful editorials and features linked below:
The killing agency: Wildlife Services' brutal methods
leave a trail of animal death (part 1 of 3) - Wildlife Services is a
federal agency that operates in secrecy, using brutal traps, poison and
aerial gunning to kill thousands of animals, with accidental victims
that include federally protected species, family pets and injured
people. Sacramento Bee, Apr. 28, 2012
Wildlife Services' deadly force
opens Pandora's box of environmental problems (part 2 of 3) - Wildlife
Services' predator control is coming under fire from scientists, former
employees and others, who say it is expensive, ineffective and can set
off a chain reaction of unintended, often negative, environmental
consequences. Sacramento Bee, Apr. 30, 2012
Suggestions in changing Wildlife Services range from new practices to
outright bans (part 3 of 3) - Critics of Wildlife Services suggest
solutions that include nonlethal control; curtailing aerial gunning; a
ban on leg-hold traps, neck snares and cyanide poison; more
transparency; cutting its budget; and perhaps eliminating the agency
altogether. Sacramento Bee, May 6, 2012
Sacramento Bee Editorials
Wildlife Services needs a tight leash - Sacramento Bee, May 6, 2012
Cartoon: "I can't believe people think there could be adverse
consequences to these coyote kills..." - Sacramento Bee, May 6, 2012
Put pressure on Wildlife Services - Sacramento Bee, May 27, 2012
Sacramento Bee Follow-up Articles
M-44s lure animal with smelly
bait, kill with cyanide - details just one of the indiscriminate and
deadly killing techniques used by Wildlife Services. Sacramento Bee,
published April 30, 2012
Efforts to investigate Wildlife Services' methods continue - Shows
renewed attention is being drawn to the federal government's wildlife
damage control program as a result of: (1) a bipartisan letter from four
U.S. Representatives requesting a congressional investigation, and (2) a
"notice of violation" and $2,400 fine issued to a Wildlife Services'
employee for placing a spring-loaded sodium cyanide ejector (M-44) near
a family's home in Texas that killed their dog, Bella. Sacramento Bee,
June 25, 2012. (See special note* below regarding Predator Defense's
focused work on these two projects.)
Wildlife Services meets with its
critics - Sacramento Bee, June 30, 2012
Davis cuts ties with Wildlife Services over coyote killings -
Sacramento Bee, July 19, 2012
U.S. wildlife worker's online photos of animal abuse stir outrage -
Sacramento Bee, Nov. 2, 2012
Federal Wildlife Services makes a killing in animal-control business
- Sacramento Bee, Nov. 18, 2012
Reform urged for Wildlife Services - Sacramento Bee, Nov. 18, 2012
U.S. wildlife agent accused of trapping a neighbor's dog - Sacramento
Bee, Jan. 31, 2013
Federal agency gives few answers on months-long probe of alleged
animal cruelty - FOXnews.com, June 12, 2013
Documents show questions about Wildlife Services probe in animal
cruelty - Sacramento Bee, June 15, 2013
Sacramento Bee Videos
Target and non-target animals often suffer - includes three videos of
our work at Predator Defense, helping human and animal victims of
Wildlife Services. Sacramento Bee, Apr. 30, 2012
request for a Congressional investigation and oversight hearings on
Wildlife Services mentioned above is an effort we have worked on
intensively for many years. In their letter to the Chairman of the
Committee on Oversight and Goverment Reform, the two U.S.
Representatives we've been working with—Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) and
John Campbell (R-Irvine)—cite the program's waste of federal dollars,
harm to ecosystems, and secrecy regarding practices and spending. Read
letter to Committee Chairman, Darrell Isssa. We also worked for over a
year with the family in Texas who lost their dog to the M-44 placed by
the Wildlife Services employee being fined.
More In the News
The Controversy over the Federal Government's 'Predator Control'
Program - HealthNewsDigest.com, Nov. 17, 2012
Congresswoman Pushes for Transparency from Secretive Agency: The
Wildlife Killers - Voice of San Diego, Aug. 2, 2012
American Society of Mammalogists letter recommends redirecting
Wildlife Services operations - Mar. 21, 2012. Sample Comment: "We see
from WS a heavy and inflexible emphasis on lethal control and a lack of
scientific self-assessment of the effects of WS’s lethal control
programs on native mammals and ecosystems."
Bill to Ban Two Deadly Poisons Used by USDA Wildlife Services
Re-introduced in Congress - Mar. 20, 2012
Taxpayers Subsidizing Wildlife Extermination Program, Probe Shows -
Kansas City Star, Aug. 18, 2011
America's Secret War on Wildlife - Christopher Ketcham's article on
federal agency that keeps the West safe for cows by killing coyotes,
wolves, bears, and pet dogs - Men's Journal, Jan. 2008
Poison Traps Kill Unintended Victims - High Country News, Mar. 13,
Your Tax Dollars at Work
The following pictures show
animals injured or killed as the result of Wildlife Services' methods.
WARNING: These pictures are very graphic and may not be suitable for
Victims of M-44 sodium cyanide devices
Nine fox kits orphaned by USDA's Wildlife Services
Domestic cat injured in leg hold trap set by Wildlife Services. Leg
was later amputated.
Young puppy suffers after being caught in Wildlife Services’
necksnare. The puppy was discovered by area residents and the photo was
taken after one week of healing.
Coyote caught in Wildlife Services necksnare
Warning signs required to be posted by Wildlife Services.
Often the signs are not posted or are missing.
School children in Montana pose with wolves that Wildlife Services
killed with aerial gunning in 2004. Seven wolves were killed in this
Cougars killed by Wildlife Services. This infamous photo of
the severed heads of 11 mountain lions was taken by an outraged employee
of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. These animals were among 24
lions killed by the federal agency Animal Damage Control (now called
Wildlife Services) in the Galiuro mountains of Arizona, a wilderness
area North of Willcox. All were killed on federal lands on the Coronado
National Forest over a six-month period from December 1988-May 1989.
While it is uncertain whether any of these cougars ever preyed on
livestock, the ostensible purpose of the killings was to protect cattle
that were grazing on public lands. This type of indiscriminate lethal
predator control continues in almost all of the states where mountain
lions occur. California is an exception in that only specific mountain
lions documented to have killed livestock or threatened people are
subject to lethal control by wildlife agencies. Also, in California no
sport hunting of mountain lions is allowed.
Wildlife Services (formerly Animal Damage Control) is a program of the
United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service. Every year, Wildlife Services spends millions of
dollars to kill thousands of predators—coyotes, wolves, bears, mountain
lions, and many others—as a subsidy for the livestock industry. The
animals are shot, poisoned, gassed, snared, and caught in leghold traps.
Wildlife Services programs operate on both private and public lands. See
Wildlife Services program directives
Wildlife Services policies
and procedures have been questioned almost since the inception of the
program. Although livestock damage is a valid concern, Wildlife Services
also kills animals for eating flowers and pet food, digging in gardens,
frightening people, and other concerns that could easily be addressed by
nonviolent methods. And Wildlife Services runs programs to control bird
damage, primarily in the eastern U.S. and at airports, as well as
programs to remove damaging non-predatory wildlife.
Wildlife Services wastes millions of taxpayer dollars by spending far
more to kill predators than the actual damage those predators cause.
Scientific proof that Wildlife Services practices control livestock
damage is markedly lacking.
Despite the opposition of
environmentalists and a series of scathing advisory reports over the
years, Wildlife Services has survived and prospered, primarily as a pet
program of the powerful livestock industry. In recent years, Wildlife
Services has been branching out to increase its programs to remove
wildlife from urban areas and to promote itself to the public and to
schools and other organizations.
USDA Wildlife Services' kill
The following charts on kill data are sourced directly from
USDA Wildlife Services:
Animals killed nationwide by species
during FY 2011
Animals killed nationwide by method during FY 2011
Animals killed in Oregon by method during FY 2011
Mammaliam Kill Data
Animals Shot from Aircraft, 2001-2007
With some work,
you can also find these tables on the USDA Wildlife Services website.
Their presentation is not user-friendly, which is telling.
Animal Damage Control began in 1886 as a program to
advise people on how to control damaging birds. It began killing
predators in 1914 and has continued to do so ever since.
been the subject of scathing reviews by many bodies: the American
Society of Mammalogists in 1930, the Advisory Board on Wildlife
Management for the Department of the Interior in 1963, the Advisory
Committee on Predator Control for the Department of the Interior in
1971,and the Animal Damage Control Policy Study Committee for the
Department of the Interior in 1978.
While these hearings have
been harshly critical of ADC’s predator-killing policies, little
substantive change has resulted. For a time, poisons were banned, but
the bans have been rescinded for the most part, with only widespread
broadcasting of Compound 1080 and strychnine still unpracticed. ADC’s
response to anti-poison campaigns in the ‘80’s was to facilitate its
move from the Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, which livestock owners felt was too soft on predators, to the
presumably less "predator-friendly" Department of Agriculture.
Wildlife Services Chronology
1886 - USDA creates the Branch of
Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy, after interviewing farmers about
bird damage. Programs concentrate on bird damage and control, and
researching poisoning of house sparrows. No direct work conducted.
1890 - Name changed to Division of Ornithology and Mammalogy
1896 - Name changed to Division of Biological Survey
1905 - Name
changed to Bureau of Biological Survey. Advice on coyote and wolf
control becomes a priority.
1913 - Direct control efforts begin,
controlling plague-bearing rodents.
1914 - Direct predator
control work begins.
1915 - Congress allots $125,000 for predator
1916 - Eradication Methods Laboratory opens in
Albuquerque for poison research.
1921 - Laboratory moves to
Denver, CO. Years later, it becomes the still existing Denver Wildlife
Research Center, which still invents new wildlife killing poisons and
1924 - Name changed to Division of Predatory Animal and
Rodent Control (PARC).
1930 - American Society of Mammalogists
issues a paper condemning PARC. This paper almost lead to $1 million in
Federal funds being canceled. Congress holds hearings on PARC.
1931 - After the hearings, President Hoover signs the Animal Damage
Control Act of 1931, which authorizes direct and cooperative control
programs by PARC. This is still the primary statutory law under which
ADC operates today.
1934 - Name change to Division of Game
Management, Section of Predator and Rodent Control.
Pocatello Supply depot, which manufactures poisons, traps, etc., opens
1938 - Name change to Division of Predator and Rodent
1939 - PARC is transferred from USDA to the
Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service.
Name change to Branch of Predator and Rodent Control.
After growing criticism from environmental groups, Secretary of the
Interior Stewart Udall appoints the Advisory Board on Wildlife
Management to look into predator control in the U.S.
"Predator and Rodent Control in the United States", usually referred to
as the Leopold Report, after advisory committee member A. Starker
Leopold, is published. The report was sharply critical of predator
control as being indiscriminate, nonselective, and excessive. The report
led to only minor, primarily administrative, changes in predator control
practice. Another name change made, this time to the euphemistic
Division of Wildlife Services.
1970 - Faith McNulty writes "Must
They Die?", which criticizes ADC’s role in endangering the black-footed
1971 - "Slaughter the Animals, Poison the Earth", a book
highly critical of ADC, by Jack Olsen is published. Lawsuits from animal
welfare groups over excessive poison use lead to the appointment of the
Advisory Committee on Predator Control, headed by mammalogist Stanley
1972 - The Cain report is published. It calls for an end to
the use of poisons, and states that the benefits of predator control
programs are highly exaggerated. 15 recommendations were made, including
banning poisons. As a result, President Nixon signed Executive Order
11643, which banned the use of poisons by Federal agents and on Federal
lands. The Environmental Protection Agency cancels all registrations for
Compound 1080, thallium, sodium cyanide, and strychnine.
The Endangered Species Act is passed.
1974 - Name changed to
Animal Damage Control.
1975 - Gerald Ford amends the Executive
Order to allow usage of M 44’s.
1976 - Gerald Ford amends the
Executive Order to allow usage of sodium cyanide.
1978 - Yet
another committee is appointed by the Department of the Interior to
study ADC—the Animal Damage Control Policy Study Committee. The report
was extremely critical of the ADC program, and called for it to be
terminated. The Department of the Interior then issued "Predator Damage
in the West A Study of Coyote Management Alternatives".
The report leads to an order from Secretary of the Interior Cecil Andrus
to stop denning and research on Compound 1080 and to consider non-lethal
control methods. ADC issues its firs Environmental Impact Report.
1980 - "Incident at Eagle Ranch" by Donald Schueler, a book exposing
unethical and illegal predator control practices in Texas, is published.
The Western Regional Coordinating Committee, composed of ADC employees
and University Extension personnel who used ADC services, opposes
Andrus’ policy and calls for a transfer of ADC to USDA, saying that the
Department of the Interior does not respect the needs of the livestock
1981 - The EPA holds hearings on ADC. Secretary of the
Interior James Watt rescinds the ban on denning. President Reagan signs
an executive order revoking President Nixon’s ban on poisons.
1985 - Pressure builds to return ADC to USDA.
1986 - Legislation
passes and ADC returns to USDA under the Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service (APHIS). Yet another panel is formed by the USDA to
study ADC--the National Animal Damage Control Advisory Committee. Out of
20 members, one is an environmentalist and one an animal welfare
advocate. Among other panelists are representatives of the livestock,
timber, and fur industries.
1989 - ADC begins official claims
that its policy is "integrated pest management".
1990 - The U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Services Law Enforcement discovered Wildlife Services’
illegal trade of poisons, including Compound 1080. This investigation
was called the “Wyoming Sting”.
1990 - Draft Environmental Impact
Statement is issued. GAO report finds that ADC kills coyotes even when
damage has not occurred.
1993 - Environmental Impact Statement
1994 - GAO investigation finds that ADC uses primarily
lethal control methods.
1998 - For 24 hours Wildlife Services’
Lethal Control Program was in jeopardy of being completely eliminated. A
bill introduced by Congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon passed in the
House that would have cut all federal funding for lethal predator
control. The amendment passed 229 to 193. Unfortunately, after passage,
powerful Republican house members Bob Smith of Oregon and Joe Skeen of
New Mexico worked the phones overnight with the help of the American
Farm Bureau to invalidate this vote. In an unprecedented move, they
called for a revote the following day based on a technicality in
amendment wording. In the revote the bill failed 232 to 191.
- An audit conducted by the USDA Office of Inspector General found that
biological agents and toxins used by Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service to kill wildlife they consider a nuisance are poorly
safeguarded. (Wildlife Services is a branch of APHIS.) The audit faulted
the agency for: 1) failing to keep accurate inventories of agents or
toxins, 2) not restricting access to agents or toxins, and 3) not having
complete security plans. Auditors visited 10 of 75 registered entities
where agents are kept and found that none of the 10 complied with
Wildlife Services costs
Americans millions of tax dollars annually to kill thousands of
predators using methods that are ineffective and cruel.
benefits? Many western ranchers enjoy this subsidy but they are under no
obligation to change their livestock management practices to reduce
traps work by catching the target animal by the toes, foot or leg with a
tightly-gripping metal trap, usually chained to a stake in the ground.
The trap may be lightly padded. Trapped animals suffer severe injuries,
exposure, thirst, and hunger.
traps are a "quick-kill" trap that crushes an animal to kill it. They
are primarily used for water animals such as beaver and muskrat. Pets
have been found in these traps--some still alive. Meet a Conibear trap
ADC uses two types of snares, which are not
differentiated in the statistics. Foothold snares are designed to catch
large animals by the foot and hold them. They pose less of an injury
risk than legholds, although there are still problems with exposure,
etc. This type of snare is used mainly on bears and mountain lions, and
The other type of snare is a killing snare,
which is designed to catch an animal by the neck and strangle it. These
snares also catch animals around the body, with lethal results. These
are used to catch many types of smaller animals and coyotes.
Although cage traps may seem innocuous, it must be noted
that the majority of animals Wildlife Services traps in them are killed,
not released. Wildlife Services uses cage traps primarily for "cosmetic"
and liability issues in urban areas.
Wildlife Services kills thousands of coyotes and red foxes by chasing
them down and shooting them from helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
Many predators are killed by calling and shooting,
which is the use of a call making a sound resembling a prey animal to
lure predators in close enough to be shot. Others are simply shot
Some dogs are used to track and
tree raccoons, bears and mountain lions. Others kill animals such as
coyotes. "Decoy dogs" are also used to lure coyotes in to be shot.
Compound 1080, whose chemical name is sodium
fluoroacetate, is a tasteless, odorless, colorless poison that is
especially lethal to canines but is extremely poisonous to all mammals.
In the past, large chunks of meat were baited and left out where
they killed any predator or scavenger that ate them. At present, the
only legal use of Compound 1080 is in "livestock protection collars"
(LPC’s), which are rubber bladders that are filled with a water solution
of 1080 and placed around the necks of sheep or goats. However, ADC
employees have been convicted in the past for illegally trading in 1080.
There is a widespread belief by federal investigators that a black
market for both still exists.
Coyotes normally attack sheep by
biting them in the neck. When a coyote punctures an LPC, a few drops of
the poison enter the coyote’s mouth. The remainder drips onto the wool
and into the torn flesh of the target sheep (which invariably dies) and
onto the ground or plants where the sheep is attacked.
poisoned coyote can take hours to die. While in most species 1080 kills
by causing ventricular fibrillation or other cardiac problems, in
canines death is preceded by vomiting, convulsions, severe abdominal
pain, staggering, whimpering, and drooling. The meat that poisoned
coyotes vomit up is extremely toxic to scavengers. In the days when 1080
was used to bait carcasses and frequently poisoned dogs, the vomit from
one dog sometimes wiped out whole packs of hunting hounds.
Wildlife Services is required to attempt to find poisoned coyotes, less
than 10 percent are recovered. These carcasses serve as poison bait
stations to scavengers, as does that of the dead sheep, which under
regulations can remain on the range as long as a week. In addition, the
collars are often punctured by barbed wire or vegetation, or simply fall
off the sheep.
According to the Predator Project (now Predator
Conservation Alliance, a wildlife advocacy group in Bozeman Montana),
"Historically, there has been insufficient monitoring and record-keeping
of the LPC [Livestock Protection Collar]. Texas was one of the first
states to reissue the LPC and is its greatest proponent. In a report
issued by the Texas Center for Policy Studies ("TDA's Failed Enforcement
for Predator Poisons," April 1995), the Texas Department of Agriculture
(TDA) was found to be keeping inconsistent and contradictory records of
LPC use within the state. The Texas Center for Policy Studies (TCPS)
found that 1) in 1994, TDA did only 50% of the required inspections of
LPC users, and 2) TDA has not done any of the required inspections
during any of the last 4 years. TCPS concludes that without the
inspections, the public and the EPA cannot be assured the Compound 1080
is being stored, used, and disposed of properly; and TDA cannot carry
out enforcement against misuse of these dangerous poisons. This pattern
of inadequate supervision cannot be assumed to be specific to Texas as
much as it may be specific to use of the LPC." There is no antidote for
Compound 1080 poisoning. Learn more about Compound 1080
M-44’s are spring-propelled sodium cyanide cartridges. A small pipe
is spring-loaded with the cartridge then pounded into the ground and
topped with an absorbent wick scented with carrion, musk, etc. When an
animal pulls on the wick, the spring propels the cyanide charge into the
animal’s mouth. The animal can die within minutes or it can suffer as
long as eight hours.
M-44’s are primarily used for coyotes and,
to a lesser extent, red foxes. They have one of the largest percentages
of non-target kills of any device, as any animal that is attracted to
the scent of carrion can be lured and killed.
Sodium cyanide is
extremely lethal to humans as well. Wildlife Services employees and
anyone else who places or services M44s is supposed to carry amyl
nitrate to counteract the cyanide. Hikers, children, or others who
stumble across such a device will have no such protection. Cyanide is
lethal and can kill within minutes. Learn more about M-44s.
The Myth of Selectivity
Wildlife Services repeatedly claims that its methods are "selective",
implying that they only remove animals actually causing damage. For
example, the Wildlife Services customer-service brochure states that,
"We will support the most humane, selective, and effective control
However, the reality is that most Wildlife Services
methods are nonselective, in the sense that they will kill many animals
apart from the ones doing damage. Coyotes, the predator killed in the
greatest number by Wildlife Services, make a good example. Approximately
75,000 to 90,000 coyotes are killed every year by Wildlife
Services—vastly more than are reported as problems.
of Lethal Control Methods
Shooting from fixed-wing aircraft and
helicopters is not selective. With this method aircraft fly over a large
area and all coyotes observed are shot.
Shooting is selective if
the animals are shot in the act of doing damage. Shooting coyotes on
sight is not selective.
Leghold traps and snares are somewhat
selective in cases where an animal actually killed by a coyote is used
as the bait. However, in most cases bait or lures are used to attract
the coyotes, which makes these methods non-selective. Many non-target
animals are caught with this method.
M-44 cyanide ejectors are
not selective. Any animal attracted to carrion, or other scent, used to
attract coyotes will be affected.
Calling and shooting are not
selective. Any coyote within range that responds to the call will be
Hunting with dogs can be selective. In coyote hunting, dogs
are often used to lure parent coyotes away from dens regardless of
whether these coyotes have done damage. Their use in such a fashion is
not selective. More often Wildlife Services uses dogs to hunt cougars
In short, most of the above methods will be used
against all coyotes in a given area, not against specific coyotes
Wildlife Services' Poisons Arsenal
of poisons to control predators is as old as the West. Trappers,
ranchers, and Wildlife Services agents all use a myriad of poisons on
both public and private lands. The poisons that are used are delivered
by different mechanisms.
The deadly “tools” of USDA’s Wildlife
Aminopyridine, Avitrol, 4-AP
Bone Tar Oil
Mineral Oil: Petroleum Distillates
Alpha Chloralose (C8H11Cl3O6):
Immobilizing agent used on waterfowl and other birds. Classified as a
soporific, which is a central nervous system depressant designed to
immobilize target species at sublethal levels. The compound is slowly
metabolized, resulting in a recovery within a few hours from ingestion.
Possible accumulation in species that have undergone multiple
treatments. Secondary risks to predators a factor if target species not
removed promptly after administration of the compound. FDA classified as
a narcotic. Primary and secondary toxicity listed as low when the target
species is removed. There is no probable aquatic risk due to the use
pattern and lack of solubility in water.
Aluminum Phosphide - AIP
(55% or 57%) Also known as Fumitoxin, Phostoxin and Detia-Rotox: The
compound is registered as a fumigant designed for the control of
burrowing rodents. To be used by certified personnel only. Target
rodents include pocket gophers, prairie dogs, moles, ground squirrels,
muskrats, marmots, voles, and Norway rats. The compound is not
persistent in soil due to the conversion to deadly phosphine gas when in
contact with moisture, and ultimately (in several days time) to
inorganic phosphate. The EPA has placed this compound in their highest
toxicity category. The chance of non-target toxicity to burrowing
animals is extremely high in targeted areas, and any animal coming in
contact with the poison gas will likely be killed.
4-Aminopyridine (C5H6N2), Avitrol, 4-AP: Lethal frightening agent used
on grain baits for killing house sparrows, pigeons, blackbirds, and
starlings to safeguard public health and safety and to protect against
property damage caused by those species. Can be used only by
State-certified pesticide applicators. Acutely toxic to both avian and
mammalian species. Compound is very water-soluble. It is also highly
mobile in soils and has the potential to leach to the ground water.
Aquatic organisms are acutely affected at low levels. Biodegradation of
the compound is slow in soil and water? its soil half-life extends up to
22 months. Non-accumulative in tissues, and is generally rapidly
metabolized by many birds. Secondary poisoning, known for magpies and
crows, is a potential.
4-Aminopyridine (Avitrol Concentrate;
25%): Same as above except for the concentration. Used to control gulls.
Primary and secondary poisonings probable unless each targeted species
Bone Tar Oil (Magic Circle Deer Repellent; 93.75%):
Used as an odor repellant to deer. There is no probable risk to primary,
secondary, or aquatic toxicity.
Brodifacoum (Weather Blok) (
C31H23O3Br; 0.005%): Federally registered for the control of the
Polynesian rat in Hawaii only. The "second generation" anticoagulant
compound is contained in a rodent specific application box, so primary,
secondary and aquatic toxicity potentials are all low due to the design
of the applicator.
Cholecalciferol (Quintox) (C27H44O; 0.075%):
Also known as vitamin D3, which is used by humans for dietary
supplementation. The compound is used in the control of rodents. As
above, this compound is applied in a target-specific box which results
in "target only" toxicity. The compound is not mobile in soils. There is
little chance of bioaccumulation in plant or animal tissue. The primary,
secondary, and aquatic toxicity potentials are all low.
(C7H9NCL2): Slow-acting avicide used widely throughout the United
States. Lethal in a single feeding. Concentrate may only be used by
APHIS Wildlife Services personnel trained in bird damage control or
persons under their direct supervision. Commercially available avicide
may be used by Wildlife Services personnel as well as others who are
State certified in pesticide application. Highly toxic to starlings,
blackbirds, and magpies and other birds. More toxic to birds than to
mammals. DRC-1339 (98% Feedlots): Used to control blackbirds, starlings,
pigeons, crows, cowbirds and grackles. 0.1% concentration tarlicide is a
brand name for this: Similar to above, but is not a restricted use
pesticide. Federally registered for the control of starlings and
blackbirds. Could affect non target species. DRC-1339 (98% Eggs and Meat
bait): Similar to above, but in a powder that is applied to bait (eggs
and meat). Used primarily to prevent livestock depredation by ravens.
Could affect any non-target species that were to consume the poison.
Fenthion (C10H15O3S2P), also known as Rid-A-Bird: Organophosphate
compound used on bird perches to poison birds which land or come in
contact with it. Also used as an insecticide (mostly mosquito control).
Toxic to all avian species. Affects non target species that come in
contact with it. Could potentially affect peregrine falcons and other
raptors, which are all particularly sensitive to fenthion contamination.
Estimated to break down in a week or so under normal conditions.
Immobilizing/ Euthanizing Agents (Ketaset, Beuthanasie-D, Rompun): These
are several drugs used by Wildlife Services to target individuals for
sedation or death. They are normally injected directly into the animal,
so the chance of non target toxicity is negligible.
Petroleum Distillates: A petroleum product that is highly lipophilic and
easily bioaccumulates in tissues, especially fat tissues. Used primarily
for the control of gulls. The product is sprayed on the gull eggs to
asphyxiate the embryos. Claimed to be non-toxic to hatched birds as a
result of limited studies. Secondary and aquatic toxicity both claimed
to be low due to the low degree of toxicity.
(C3H8O4PN): Nonselective herbicide for use in aquatic environments.
Designed for control of cattails where blackbirds roost. Used primarily
in the summer when the cattails are more affected by the herbicide. It
is moderately persistent in soils (50% lost in 60 days). It has a low
mobility, but translocates easily into foliage. Low risk of toxicity to
animals because the compound was designed as a herbicide. Claims to have
no potential risk to primary, secondary, or aquatic species.
Polybutene (80%) also known as Eaton's 4-the-Birds: A transparent,
sticky compound that is designed to discourage birds from roosting or
perching on treated ledges. Primary, secondary, and aquatic toxicity
none due to the non-toxic product. This product can be lethal if applied
incorrectly. There are instances where birds will suffer from an excess
of the adhesive on their wings and feathers. This compromises their
temperature regulation and usually results in death from exposure.
Sodium Cyanide (NaCN): M-44 Cyanide Capsules, 88.62%. Found in a 1
inch tall by 0.44 inch diameter (M-44) ejector mechanism. When in
contact with moisture, as when the M-44 ejects the sodium cyanide into
the oral cavity, the compound reacts to form a gas, hydrogen cyanide.
Hydrogen cyanide is the actual toxicant that causes asphyxiation when
inhaled. Specifically developed for the control of coyote depredation on
livestock. The devices are to be checked weekly at the very least. The
compound is highly mobile in soil. Primary toxicity is a serious
potential for non target species. Secondary toxicity is thought to be
unlikely due to the nature of the compound and its limited ability to
assimilate into tissue.
Sodium Fluoroacetate (FCH2COONa; Compound
1080, 1.04%): Used and modified for the control of coyote depredation to
livestock. Originally designed for rodents, but the nontarget effects
from the primary and secondary toxicities caused the compound to be
cancelled. It was registered again for use in 1985 only in a device
called the Livestock Protection Collar (LPC). This is a velcro harness
for small sheep and goats with two rubber bladders on each side of the
throat which contain a one percent solution of the compound. That
amounts to approximately six lethal doses for coyotes. Primary nontarget
hazards could result from any animal that comes in contact with the
poison or poison-carrying device. Secondary nontarget hazards could
arise from any animal coming in contact with an infected organism.
Thought to only attract target species such as coyotes and other
canines, Wildlife Services records show a surprising number of other
species have succumbed to the poison. Raptors in particular need several
days to recover from a sub-lethal exposure to the compound, and have
died from lethal doses. There are several raptors and scavenging birds
for which compound 1080 poses a serious threat. The compound remains in
the tissues of species exposed to the poison. There are also instances
of poisoning of domestic animals due to ruptured poison bladders on the
collars from vegetation or fencing. An animal that even so much as licks
the wool or fur of an infected carcass could receive a lethal dosage.
Unfortunately, little is known about the environmental fate of the
compound. It is known that the compound is extremely soluble in water.
The potential of plants bioaccumulating the compound in their cells is
high. Compound 1080 represents one of the most harmful compounds that
Wildlife Services uses. It is an indiscriminate killer. The lethal dose
for most animals is around a milligram per kilogram of body weight.
There are several threatened or endangered species that could be
affected. Since the location of infected animals is seldom known
(coyotes and other victims are seldom found), the potential for any of a
number of non-target species to come in contact with an infected carcass
is incredibly high. After ingesting the poison, it may take up to six
hours for death to occur, so the victim can be miles away.
Nitrate (NaNO3): A pyrotechnic fumigant that emits toxic fumes when
burned. If not ignited, the compound is relatively nontoxic. Has been
manufactured for more than 40 years. Used mostly in coyote dens. The
product is highly mobile in soils. There is little potential for
bioaccumulation. When ignited, the gas emitted is carbon monoxide, which
causes death by asphyxiation. It has been placed in the highest toxicity
category due to the inhalation hazard. Primary toxicity is high.
Secondary toxicity is potentially low.
used in the control of vertebrate pests. It is currently restricted to
below ground applications in burrows and runways for killing rodents.
Can only be used by state-certified pesticide applicators. The compound
has moderate mobility in soil. There is a half life of 28 to 112 days
depending on conditions (more oxygen = higher rate of biodegradation).
This would then be classified as having a moderately low persistence.
There is a high primary toxicity in both birds and mammals. There is
also a good chance that secondary toxicity may occur to predators and
scavengers. Aquatic toxicity is potentially high due to the nature of
the poison. This compound is highly toxic to almost anything it may come
in contact with. There are several variations of the formula that are
designed to target specific species such as pocket gophers, ground
squirrels, marmots, woodchucks, and prairie dogs.
(Zn3P2): One of the most widely used rodenticides in the world. Has the
ability to kill in one dose, but normally that option is not available
due to the offensive taste and odor. Can only be used by state certified
pesticide applicators. Primarily used on state owned range land and
private lands. Not likely to be mobile in soil, but is fairly
persistent. The compound has not been known to bioaccumulate in plant or
animal tissues. There is a high avian toxicity, a potential for
secondary toxicity due to the persistence of the compound in the gut,
and a varying aquatic toxicity.
A senior congressmen and three
former federal agents will take on the USDA and expose the government's
secret war on wildlife in our new film. Watch preview
Documents Reveal Cover-Up of Animal Abuse Investigation
Photo of dog set on live coyote in trap
Case reveals trapper let dogs attack live coyotes in traps
June 20, 2013
Fox News Exposes Wildlife Services'
Brutality, Waste and Illegal Activity
Photo of Fox News homepage
PART 1: "Animal torture, abuse called a 'regular practice' within
federal wildlife agency" - March 12, 2013
PART 2: "Hundreds of
family pets, protected species killed by little-known federal agency" -
March 13, 2013
Victims of Wildlife Services
links illustrate the very real risk Wildlife Services' traps and poisons
pose to people and their pets:
List of documented non-target
victims (domestic animals), 1990-2011
Meet Maggie the border collie -
her death in a conibear trap was a crime
"A Long Wait in a Trap"
"Did Princess Have to Die?"
"Wildlife Services' Scare Tactics in
Urban and Suburban Portland"
Man injured by M-44 poison while
recreating on public land in Utah
Family's dog dies from M-44 poison
from traps set on private property
Other M-44 victims tell their stories
How You Can Help
Please contact your legislators and ask them to support H.R. 4214,
the bill currently in Congress that would ban the use of indiscriminate
wildlife traps and poisons.
You can also help us expand our
efforts to save native predators and stop illegal hunting, trapping, and
extensive predator-killing programs by making a financial contribution.
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