Wildlife Services Slaughtered 2.7 Million Animals in 2014 in the Name of Coexistence
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Wildlife Services Slaughtered 2.7 Million Animals in 2014 in the Name of Coexistence

FROM Marc Bekoff, Psychology today Animal Emotions
April 15, 2015

I've written a number of essays on a federal agency called Wildlife Services whose stated mission, namely, "to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist (link is external)," couldn't be further from what they actually do. More appropriately called Murder, Inc., federal agents working for Wildlife Services killed 2,713,570 animals in 2014 (link is external), down from 4,378,456 animals killed in 2013 (link is external). Animals killed "included 570 black bears (link is external), 322 gray wolves, 61,702 coyotes, 2,930 foxes, and 305 mountain lions. The agency also killed three bald eagles and five golden eagles using methods like cyanide capsules, neck snares, and foot traps."

Wildlife Services has been killing millions upon millions of animals for a long time. Dr. Bradley Bergstrom (link is external), a biologist at Valdosta State University, notes (link is external), "The whole approach of just getting rid of the perceived problem by killing it is something that this agency has been doing for well over 100 years." And, as they merrily torment, torture, and kill these animals, Wildlife Services continues to be scrutinized by those who want to put them out of business (please see "Exposed: Human-Animal Interactions and the War on Wildlife" and also "Murder Incorporated: Wildlife Services Under Public Scrutiny" and "The Federal Government Killed Nearly Three Million Animals Last Year (link is external)"). Oregon Representative (D) Peter DeFazio claims (link is external), "Their lethal predator control program is particularly inhumane and totally unnecessary." More details on the documentary "Exposed: USDA's Secret War on Wildlife" can be seen here (link is external).

I'm updating the egregious and unregulated activities of Wildlife Services because when I tell many people about what they do, they're incredulous and think I'm inflating the numbers. Clearly, I'm not. And, in addition to intentional kills, Wildlife Services' war on wildlife is responsible for slaughtering numerous animals unintentionally, and this collateral damage includes pets and animals who pose no danger or do no damage. Laura Dattaro notes (link is external), "Accidental kills are a frequent byproduct of the agency's methods. Of the 454 river otters killed, for example, 390 were unintentional, likely during attempts to kill beavers, which can flood property with their dams." Many animals just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and are wantonly killed. And, what's also disconcerting is the fact that Wildlife Services doesn't have to tell why the animals were killed and their killing ways don't work. Thus, "A 2014 study examining livestock data from 1897 through 2012 found that lethal force against wolves actually increased the odds of a wolf attack on sheep by 4 percent and cattle by 5 to 6 percent (link is external). That's likely because killing wolves causes the pack structure to collapse, which leads to solitary wolves looking for food beyond their usual hunting grounds."

Wildlife Services kills using taxpayers money, and I hope you'll take the time to write to members of Congress (link is external)from your area to ask them to put them out of business once and for all. Wildlife Services is bad news and has been for a long time, yet they're able to continue their killing ways with little oversight. Cruelty can't stand the spotlight (link is external)and it's essential not to let Wildlife Services slip through the cracks of bureacracy because of apathy about their murderous ways.

Note: Please also see "Secretive U.S. Agency Kills Pets And Hides Their Bodies, Says Whistleblower (link is external)." And, you can sign a petition to stop this senseless slaughter here (link is external).


Marc Bekoff's latest books are Jasper's story: Saving moon bears (with Jill Robinson), Ignoring nature no more: The case for compassionate conservation, Why dogs hump and bees get depressed, and Rewilding our hearts: Building pathways of compassion and coexistence. The Jane effect: Celebrating Jane Goodall (edited with Dale Peterson) has recently been published. (marcbekoff.com; @MarcBekoff)

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