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From Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)

We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

BILL ENABLES TRANSPARENCY, ACCESS TO USDA POLICIES

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 25, 2014

CONTACT:
Kiley Blackman
adow@adow.org
www.adow.org

BILL ENABLES TRANSPARENCY, ACCESS TO USDA POLICIES

Westchester County, NY  April 25, 2014  

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and its adjuncts USDA/Wildlife Services have been in the news recently, regarding procedures and policies that resulted in alarm and controversy.  Locally these agencies have caused outcry over their plans to wipe out the entire swan population in NYS, uproar over the slaughtering of wild turkeys in Staten Island, lawsuits and chaos from their proposed annihilation of deer in Long Island...while profiting handsomely and having to answer to no one.  They been accused of discrimination, animal cruelty, killing endangered species, family pets and animals that weren't targeted.  


Recently Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW) met with Senator George Latimer to discuss our concerns about these issues.  In response, he has introduced legislation that addresses citizen's rights to information and input on these agency's methods in NYS. Our taxes are keeping these agencies in business with no accountability to the public, and we urgently believe it is time for a change.
 
Since becoming involved in this issue, we've learned some disturbing facts about these agencies, such as profiting to the tune of over 126 MILLION dollars annually by urging municipalities to slaughter wildlife instead of using non-lethal methods; that they are being investigated by two congressmen arguing that indiscriminately killing more than 3 million birds and other wildlife every year is counterproductive; that  Congressman Peter DeFazio has spent years asking for but not receiving information from Wildlife Services, which he calls "the least accountable federal agency" he has ever seen;  allegations by a Wildlife Services hunter who states he was fired for telling superiors that colleagues had killed five mountain lions from airplanes, which is a felony. He said his supervisor told him to "mind his own business."  He also said the same supervisor gave similar advice when a snare he set unintentionally killed a golden eagle. Knowing that the bird was protected under federal law, he called his supervisor for guidance and was told, 'If you think no one saw it, take a shovel and bury it," They've been accused of blatant animal cruelty, particularly in the use of dogs to control and kill coyotes, as reported by Fox News. Last year, a Wildlife Services trapper posted photographs to his Facebook page showing his dogs savaging a coyote caught in a leg-hold trap. Other pictures showed the agent's animals mauling bobcats and raccoons.
 
The USDA enriches itself by scapegoating wildlife and convincing the public that they must be wiped out - which detracts attention from the deplorable state we ourselves have put the environment in: For example, the horrific mudslides in Washington that caused the death of over 30 people and millions in property damage is widely said to be caused by over-logging in the area - and not by deer eating tulips, as the USDA would have the public believe; they openly discourage non-lethal methods and doom humane efforts by telling SI residents via telephone how to oil turkey eggs instead of demonstrating the process - almost guaranteeing the failure of this tricky non-lethal method. There is essentially no screening of persons applying for a slaughter permit - they're dispensed like confetti at a parade.  
 
Bill S6644 calls for mandatory public notification of upcoming slaughters; mandatory availability of public meetings before slaughters;  mandatory prior use of humane alternatives before slaughters.  Taxpayers and citizens have the right to  notification, input and meetings, the same as public meetings concerning the operation of a school district, municipal planning boards, etc.
 
Perceptions are changing, people realize we have no right to harm animals; In NYC both mayoral candidates promised to end the carriage horse industry due to major voter sentiment against it. Transparency in government is always a necessity; when it comes to the most vulnerable members of society - children, the elderly, animals - we must demand it for them.  We also care about our rights as citizens and taxpayers: We have the right to know and have input on government decisions that effect our world, this is democracy in action.  This bill ensures our right to community involvement, discloses how our government works and the changes that sometimes need to be made as a result.  
 
Kiley Blackman, founder of ADOW, said, 'WS tells the public they don't announce upcoming culls to 'minimize the stress on the birds' - who are viciously grabbed by their necks and feet, screaming, shoved into crates, watching helplessly as their babies are being taken from them, and beating their wings against the crates trying to escape...all done by WS.  They deny the public their rights in order to avoid scrutiny; It's over, WS: No more secrets and lies will be tolerated.'

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