Ver­min Feds Kill 2.7 Mil­lion An­i­mals in 2016

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The highly se­cre­tive arm of the cor­rupt U.S. De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture known as Wildlife Ser­vices killed more than 2.7 mil­lion an­i­mals dur­ing 2016, ac­cord­ing to new data from the agency.

The mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar fed­eral pro­gram tar­gets wolves, cougars, birds and other wild an­i­mals for de­struc­tion — sup­pos­edly to ben­e­fit the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try. Of the 2.7 mil­lion an­i­mals killed last year, nearly 1.6 mil­lion were na­tive wildlife species.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est kill re­port, the pro­gram last year de­stroyed 415 gray wolves; 76,963 adult coy­otes, plus an un­known num­ber of coy­ote pups in 430 de­stroyed dens; 407 black bears; 334 moun­tain lions; 997 bob­cats; 535 river ot­ters, in­clud­ing 415 killed “un­in­ten­tion­ally”; 3,791 foxes, plus an un­known num­ber of fox pups in 128 dens; and 21,184 beavers.

The pro­gram also killed 14,654 prairie dogs out­right, as well as an un­known num­ber killed in more than 68,000 bur­rows that were de­stroyed or fu­mi­gated. Th­ese fig­ures al­most cer­tainly un­der­es­ti­mate the ac­tual num­ber of an­i­mals killed, as pro­gram in­sid­ers have re­vealed that Wildlife Ser­vices kills vastly more an­i­mals than it re­ports.

“De­spite mount­ing pub­lic out­cry to re­form th­ese bar­baric, out­dated tac­tics, Wildlife Ser­vices con­tin­ues its tax­payer-funded slaugh­ter of Amer­ica’s wildlife,” said Col­lette Adkins, a bi­ol­o­gist and at­tor­ney at the Cen­ter for Bi­o­log­i­cal Di­ver­sity. “There’s sim­ply no sci­en­tific ba­sis for con­tin­u­ing to shoot, poi­son and stran­gle mil­lions of an­i­mals ev­ery year. Th­ese cruel prac­tices not only fail to ef­fec­tively man­age tar­geted wildlife but also pose on­go­ing threats to other an­i­mals, in­clud­ing en­dan­gered species and pets.”

Ac­cord­ing to the new data, the wildlife-killing pro­gram un­in­ten­tion­ally killed 2,790 an­i­mals last year, in­clud­ing badgers, bears, bob­cats, foxes, muskrats, ot­ters, por­cu­pines, rac­coons, skunks, tur­tles and more. Such data re­veals the in­dis­crim­i­nate na­ture of painful leghold traps, stran­gu­la­tion snares, poi­sons and other meth­ods used by fed­eral agents. This fig­ure doesn't in­clude the many an­i­mals killed in­ad­ver­tently by the poi­sons used that stay in the en­vi­ron­ment and keep killing as they pass through the food chain. Nor does it in­clude the im­mense neg­a­tive im­pact to the ecosys­tem.

Ear­lier this month a young, en­dan­gered male wolf known as OR-48, died an ag­o­niz­ing death in north­east Ore­gon af­ter tak­ing the scented bait from a cyanide trap put out by the fed­eral wildlife killers. The pro­gram’s bru­tal­ity has fu­eled grow­ing pub­lic out­cry and calls for re­form by sci­en­tists, elected of­fi­cials and non­govern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“The De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture needs to get out of the wildlife-slaugh­ter busi­ness,” said Adkins. “Wolves, bears and other car­ni­vores help keep the nat­u­ral bal­ance of their ecosys­tems. Our gov­ern­ment kills off the preda­tors, such as coy­otes, and then kills off their prey — like prairie dogs — in an ab­surd, point­less cy­cle of vi­o­lence.”

The wildlife-killing pro­gram has con­trib­uted to the rapid de­cline of gray wolves, Mex­i­can wolves, black-footed fer­rets, black-tailed prairie dogs and other im­per­iled species.


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