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Stop U.S. Wildlife Services' Killing Spree

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Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services killed more than 1.75 million animals across the country in 2021.


A small division of the US government was responsible for killing more than 1.75 million animals across the country in 2021, about 200 creatures every hour1.

Wildlife Services maintains the slaughter is necessary to protect agricultural output, threatened species and human health2.

The department reported killing 404,538 native animals in 2021, particularly wolves, coyotes, cougars, birds and other wild animals that can disrupt agriculture in states like Texas, Colorado and Idaho3.

According to a third-party report, the multimillion-dollar program last year killed 324 gray wolves, 64,131 coyotes, 433 black bears, 200 mountain lions, 605 bobcats, 3,014 foxes, 24,687 beavers, and 714 river otters — far less than the number of animals the department itself reported killed.

The reported number of native animals killed in 2021 was similar to the 433,192 killed in 20204. But even these numbers pale in comparison to 2019. Wildlife Services killed approximately 1.3 million native animals that year, including 15,096 red-winged blackbirds, compared to 364,734 in 20194.

U.S. Wildlife Services further unintentionally killed more than 2,746 animals in 2021, including bears, bobcats, mountain lions, foxes, muskrats, otters, deer, turtles and dogs. Non-target birds like wood ducks, tree swallows, herons and turkeys were also taken as collateral damage by leghold traps, snares, poisons and other methods used by federal agents5.

Wildlife Services further poisoned 7,573 animals using M-44 cyanide bombs in 2020. Of these deaths, 314 were unintentional, a statistic that comes just 5 years after an Idaho teen was nearly fatally poisoned by an M-44, and his dog killed6.

In the last few years, litigation and community opposition curtailed Wildlife Services operations in numerous states, including California, Idaho, Minnesota and Washington, as well as localities such as Humboldt County and Minneapolis6.

Help us being an end to these unnecessary killings! Sign the petition and tell U.S. Wildlife Services to emphasize nonlethal methods when controlling wildlife.

More on this issue:

  1. Oliver Milman, The Guardian (25 March 2022), "'A barbaric federal program': US killed 1.75m animals last year — or 200 per hour."
  2. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, "Operational Activities."
  3. Collette Adkins, The Center for Biological Diversity, (22 March 2022), "400,000 Native Animals Killed by Federal Program Last Year, New Data Shows."
  4. Collette Adkins, The Center for Biological Diversity (17 March 2021), "Killing of Native Wildlife by Federal 'Wildlife Services' Declined Sharply in 2020."
  5. Dina Fine Maron, National Geographic (12 April 2022), "U.S. government agency accidentally killed almost 3,000 animals in 2021."
  6. Brooks Fahy, Collette Adkins, Carson Barylak, Marjorie Fishman, Eric Molvar, The Center for Biological Diversity (16 March 2022), "Five Years After 'Cyanide Bomb' Injures Idaho Teen, Efforts Continue to Ban Deadly Devices."
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The Petition:

To the director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services,

I am frankly horrified by the fact that Wildlife Services killed more than 1.75 million animals across the country in 2021. That's a rate of about 200 creatures every hour.

In many cases, these animals are causing little to no problem to the agricultural corporations and landowners demanding their deaths. Your department reported killing 404,538 native animals in 2021, particularly wolves, coyotes, cougars, birds and other wild animals, but program insiders have revealed that Wildlife Services kills many more animals than it reports.

Further, unintentional killings take thousands more animals each year, including bears, bobcats, mountain lions, foxes, muskrats, otters, deer, turtles and dogs. Nontarget birds like wood ducks, tree swallows, herons and turkeys were also taken as collateral damage by leghold traps, snares, poisons and other methods used by federal agents in 2021.

The Endangered Species Act requires the government to analyze and mitigate the adverse effects of federal culling programs in areas where endangered animals life. In California, Idaho, Minnesota and Washington, as well as localities such as Humboldt County and Minneapolis, Wildlife Services in now working with livestock operators to implement modern measures to prevent conflicts with wildlife.

I ask that you adopt similar programs throughout the rest of the United States, and end the slaughter of our native species!

Sincerely,

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Signatures: