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Nature

Coalition to Vilsack: Stop USDA's Cruel Killing of Wild Animals

Over a hundred conservation, wildlife, and animal welfare groups have sent a letter to incoming Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging him to rethink the often cruel practice of “lethal control” of wildlife by the USDA. The coalition contends that animals are killed through such means as shooting from airplanes and helicopters, poisoning, gassing dens, bludgeoning after capture, and strangling in wire snares.

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In 2007, the USDA spent $100 million of taxpayer money to kill 2.4 million wild animals, including 90,262 coyotes, 2,277 gray foxes, 2,412 red foxes, 2,090 bobcats, 1,133 cats, 552 dogs, 577 badgers, and 340 gray wolves.

“Wildlife Services has much blood on its hands. The agency is committing crimes against animals that make Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels look like doggy day care,” said Brian Vincent of the group Big Wildlife.

Other members of the 115-group coalition include the Center for Biological Diversity, Creation Care Study Program, Christians for Environmental Stewardship, Humane Society of the United States, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Sierra Club, and Ranchers for Rural Responsibility.

The coalition advocates non-lethal livestock protection methods in the letter. They commend ranchers who protect their property with dogs, llamas, and burros, and those who mix cattle and sheep to reduce attacks from predators. The groups also recommend nighttime penning, penning during lambing and calving season, removing livestock carcasses from pastures, and the use of strobes and sirens.

Add your voice and tell Vilsack and the Obama administration that the cruel practices should end.

Photo Credit: lenblumin on Flickr under Creative Commons license.




4 comments
  1. Sammie

    i’m doing a report on the pros and cons of killing animals in the wild and i havent been able to find much on the cons but this site has helped i was wondering what about all the other animals that you didn’t mention in the 2.4 million that were killed it is irrelivent to have the number of each animal killed if it doesn’t add up to 2.4 million

  2. laule

    I have witnessed the wastefulness of USDA Wildlife Services. In our rural area they have killed coyotes with our tax dollars for hobby farmers unwilling to spend their own money or efforts to protect their animals. They also have come to kill coyotes just to protect feral cats neighbors apparently were worried about. The coyotes have not harmed or threatened anyone in our area. Additionally, it is a well known scientific fact that killing coyotes only inadvertently causes increases in their population. What a waste of our public funds in this time of budget tightening.

  3. PD Dog

    Maybe you guys should do some actual research on Wildlife Services than listening to a bunch of idiots. They deal with preventing disease transmission between wildlife and between wildlife and humans and domestic animals. This article is extremely biased and pathetically uniformed.

  4. Julie Shiel

    This is a disgusting practice that needs to stop. If we are to advance, we need to end the senseless slaughter of innocent animals, especially those vital to the environment such as wolves, foxes, coyotes, badgers and bobcats. Please, reverse Bush’s policy of destroying the environment and its creatures.

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