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The agency’s reckless behavior is destroying ecosystems and violating animal protection laws with inhumane and outdated kill methods.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 1 million animals every year, mostly on public lands. In fiscal year 2018, the animals killed intentionally by Wildlife Services includes. 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.
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.
Though Ruled Unconstitutional, Industry Continues Pushing Ag-Gag Laws: Updates in North Carolina, Kansas, Iowa, and Ontario
Though Ruled Unconstitutional, Industry Continues Pushing Ag-Gag Laws: Updates in North Carolina, Kansas, Iowa, and OntarioIn the first half of 2020, there were multiple developments in the realm of Ag-Gag laws — so named because they criminalize whistleblowing and undercover investigations in agricultural facilities, thus “gagging” activists and others who expose animal abuse in factory farms and slaughterhouses.September 15, 2020 Animal Law Update
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for illegally trapping a coyote in Essex County, Massachusetts.September 15, 2020 Press Release
Animal Legal Defense Fund sues Foster Farms for violating California law by using cruel, water-intensive slaughter method during megadroughtSeptember 2, 2020 Press Release
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Foster Poultry Farms
Center for Biological Diversity v. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, et. al.
International Fur Trade Federation v. City and County of San Francisco et al