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
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
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
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
The House switchboard, 202-224-3121, will find your
representative for you by your zip code and connect you to his/her
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
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
Go on to Why We Don't
Support the Exotic-Pet Trade
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