Issue

Wildlife Services’ War on Wildlife

Reckless behavior is destroying ecosystems and violating animal protection laws

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The agency’s reckless behavior is destroying ecosystems and violating animal protection laws with inhumane and outdated kill methods. Nationwide, Wildlife Services kills more than 2 million animals every year, mostly on public lands. Peer-reviewed research shows that such indiscriminate killing of wild animals results in broad ecological destruction and loss of biodiversity. Moreover, Wildlife Services’ rampant killing comes at a cost to taxpayers of more than $100 million per year.

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.

Wildlife Services killed more than 2.2 million animals in 2019.

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Timeline

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End Wildlife Services’ War on Wildlife

Millions of native wild animals, including coyotes, mountain lions, and bears, are targeted and killed by Wildlife Services. Tell Wildlife Services to stop using your tax dollars to slaughter animals by signing our petition.

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