Animal Writes
© sm
14 May 2000 Issue
Stop Federal Animal Damage Control Congress Votes Soon

by [email protected] 

There is a branch of the US Department of Agriculture called, ridiculously enough, Wildlife Services and also known as the ADC, Animal Damage Control.

When prairie dogs or coyotes or other varmints become too much of a problem for the rancher, or when local varmint shoots just don't seem to get the job done, the western cattle rancher can call the federal government for free help to kill the competition. Every year Wildlife Services kills one and a half million animals as a service to the few thousand cattle ranchers in the western states. It is a welfare program for ranchers, some of them quite wealthy, paid for with our taxes. WS has a total budget of over 40 million and spends 10 million a year killing wildlife.

The primary target is the coyote. One hundred thousand coyotes are killed annually. Other animals that are destroyed include prairie dogs, mountain lions, wolves, cougars, bobcats, bears, many species of birds, even threatened and endangered species are subject to termination by this federal agency.

The methods of extermination include aerial shoots from low flying planes and helicopters, steel leg-hold traps, neck snares, explosives placed in dens, and poisons. These activities take place not only on private ranches, but also on public lands, national forests and wilderness areas which are being leased at far below market rates for the ranchers to graze their cattle. Often agents will conduct an extermination program to remove all predators from an area of federally owned land before the rancher brings his herd in to graze. Hundreds of thousands of non-target animals are killed including companion dogs and cats.

Wildlife Services has a history of routinely misusing poisons and falsifying government records. In spite of this, the ranching lobby has persuaded Congress to continue the program year after year.

For the last several years, Congressman Peter DeFazio D-OR and Charles Bass R-NH have sponsored an Appropriations amendment to cut USDA’s Wildlife Services’ lethal predator control program.

In 1998 the measure passed and funding was taken away -- until the next day when the ranching lobby talked thirty congressmen into changing their votes and demanding a recall vote. Funding was given back for the killing.

Last year we came close and the amendment almost passed. But the ranching lobby is strong, and it is up to us to call and write our representatives.

Please immediately contact your US Representative and ask him/her to VOTE YES on the Bass-Defazio amendment to the House Agriculture Appropriations Bill. The vote could come up as soon as May 25.

The House switchboard, 202-224-3121, will find your representative for you by your zip code and connect you to his/her office.

Tell them you don't want your tax dollars to go to USDA's Wildlife Services program to provide welfare for a small group of wealthy ranchers.

Tell them it would cost less to merely reimburse the cattle ranchers for their losses to wild predators.

For more information on the Wildlife Services and how to contact your Congressman...

Humane Society of the United States | Today's News | Stop the Use of Taxpayer Money to Kill Wildlife 

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