Coyotes, mountain lions, bears, endangered condors and bald eagles, and other native wildlife are being slaughtered indiscriminately by a rogue federal killing agency known as Wildlife Services—a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
The agency’s reckless behavior is destroying ecosystems and violating animal protection laws with inhumane and outdated kill methods. According to publicly-released data, Wildlife Services killed more than 2.3 million animals just in 2017, with more than 1.3 million of those being native species like wolves, coyotes, bears, river otters, beavers, and bears.
The victims go beyond those the agency intends to kill. One Wildlife Services trapper reports his records showing that for every one target animal his traps caught, two additional non-target animals were captured—nearly all of whom had to be killed due to their injuries from traps. Wildlife Services drew national public scrutiny when employee Jamie P. Olson posted pictures on social media of his hunting dogs mauling coyotes caught in leghold traps. Another agency trapper, Russell Files, was charged with animal cruelty for intentionally maiming his neighbor’s dog with multiple leghold traps.
Wildlife Services’ rampant killing comes at a cost to taxpayers of more than 100 million dollars per year, mostly on public lands. Since 2000 Wildlife Services has spent over a billion taxpayer dollars to kill more than a million coyotes across the nation.
Though its mission is to help wildlife and humans coexist, Wildlife Services has become primarily a public-funded agency killing wildlife for private ranchers who believe their farmed animals are in competition with native predators for land.
Our native wildlife deserve a management program that is honest with the public, that allocates resources based on science — not politics — and that uses nonlethal methods to protect ecosystems. Native predators are essential to these environments and it is time for the modern world to coexist with animals who reside within our wild lands.
That is why the Animal Legal Defense Fund, together with a coalition of environmental and wildlife organizations, is working hard to eliminate Wildlife Services and its relentless hold over wildlife management.
August 9, 2017
A Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and a group of wildlife protection groups after the coalition successfully challenged Monterey County, California’s contract renewal with Wildlife Services.
July 12, 2017
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, in conjunction with a coalition of environmental and wildlife protection groups, sued Wildlife Services for violating the National Environmental Policy Act.
April 21, 2016
In response to a lawsuit brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and a coalition of wildlife groups, Mendocino County in Northern California agreed to perform a full Environmental Impact Report under the California Environmental Quality Act and suspend its contract with Wildlife Services.
June 30, 2014
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, along with a coalition of environmental and wildlife advocacy groups, sent letters to two counties in Northern California—Humboldt and Mendocino—urging them to terminate their contracts with Wildlife Services.
The next day Humboldt County supervisors put their contract renewal with the agency on hold pending further review.
May 16, 2013
In 2013, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors for Sonoma County, California, regarding the county’s predator control contract with Wildlife Services.
Today the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota issued a critical ruling in favor of wolves’ legal protection — determining that gray wolves are not excluded from the Endangered Species Act even if they have some detectable dog genes.June 14, 2019 News
The New York City Council is considering Intro 1425, the Carriage Horse Heat Relief Bill. Intro 1425 strengthens protections for carriage horses forced to work in extreme heat. We need your help to ensure this important bill is passed.June 11, 2019 Action Alert
On Tuesday, June 4th, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and The Humane Society of the United States hosted their first joint California Humane Lobby Day. Nearly 100 animal advocates gathered in Sacramento to lobby legislators on five animal protection bills.June 5, 2019 News
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Kirstjen M. Nielsen
Letter sent on April 30, 2019
Animal Legal Defense Fund, et al. v. Kimberly Reynolds, et al.