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The C.A.S.H. Courier
ARTICLE from the Fall 2010 Issue
Wildlife Services Exterminates Over 4.1 Million Animals in 2009
- Agency’s Budget Shrouded from Public
By Wendy Keefover-Ring
WASHINGTON, DC – According to records released today by WildEarth
Guardians, “Wildlife Services,” the ironically-named branch of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, killed more than four million wild animals and
pets in 2009 while spending $121,039,763. Last month, WildEarth Guardians
filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking to track how this
money is spent, but the agency continually sidesteps public scrutiny.
“Apparently, Wildlife Services is comprised of bands of secret agents.
One group, the assassins, operates on our national forests and kills
millions of the public’s wildlife using helicopters, guns, poisons, traps,
and hounds. The second, the artful dodgers, play shell games in the dark
with the public’s money,” said Wendy Keefover-Ring of WildEarth Guardians.
In 2009, Wildlife Services reported it killed 4.1 million animals and
“destroyed” 18,000 more. That total includes a staggering 27,314 beavers;
988,577 blackbirds; and 114,522 mammalian carnivores (e.g., 1,775 bobcats,
82,097 coyotes, 480 wolves, 571 river otters, and 443 black bears.)
Wolves in Idaho and Montana are now listed as federally endangered.
In response to WildEarth Guardians’ lawsuit, Wildlife Services and its
parent agency, the USDA’s Animal and Health Inspection Service, stated that
it could not answer the group’s simple request for line-item spending data.
The agency stated that it tracks expenses using two different data bases:
one that is “operational” and the other “financial”, but the accounting
systems are “not interactive.” Thus, Wildlife Services claims it does not
know how much it spends on its controversial operations such as shooting
coyotes and wolves from helicopters. The agency further stated: “Wildlife
Services does not have a managerial need for financial data at this finite
“Federal agencies must be fiscally accountable to the public,” stated
Steve Sugarman, WildEarth Guardians’ attorney. “It’s time for Wildlife
Services to stop playing shell games and show the public what they’re doing
with our money in the light of day,” he added.
Wildlife Services is biologically harmful and unselective for species
killed. Many conservation biologists have noted that Wildlife Services’
carnivore eradications amount to a “sledgehammer” approach to wildlife
management because of the breadth of the extermination. Wildlife Services
uses indiscriminate and deadly means to slay wildlife—many are killed by
mistake—even rare species such as kit foxes, swift foxes, and river otters.
“Of the 571 river otters it killed in 2009, Wildlife Services notes that
84% were killed accidentally. This is simply not tolerable: river otters are
sorely lacking from many river systems,” said Keefover-Ring.
These shocking charts are an indictment that has yet to happen:
Reprint of press release from WildEarth Guardians
Contact: Wendy Keefover-Ring
| 505.988.9126x1162 | firstname.lastname@example.org
### View Wildlife
Services’ 2009 Annual Tables
Download Report: War on Wildlife: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
“Wildlife Services” http://www.wildearthguardians.org/Portals/0/support_docs/report-war-on-wildlife-june-09-lo.pdf
If your municipality calls in the “USDA ,” they are really calling in
“Wildlife Services.” Be sure to use this material to keep them out!
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