In an investigative report (28 April 2012) by Sacramento Bee journalist, Tom Knudson, his story “The killing agency: Wildlife Services’ brutal methods leave a trail of animal death”, has started a national movement. Part one (of three) unearthed some very disturbing information regarding a relatively obscure federal agency responsible for “eliminating large numbers of some of North America’s most iconic species”. According to his report the Wildlife Services (Department of Agriculture) has waged an obviously haphazard war against wildlife – ironically in the name of conservation.
Species like coyotes and wolves believed to be guilty predatory parties who attack livestock and game animals, are targets for ‘selective’ elimination by steel-trap and aerial shooting by the feds. This is meant to preserve non-predatory populations and we the tax payers pay millions upon millions of dollars to do so, but here is what Knudson uncovered:
From Knudson’s article in the Sacramento Bee:
• With steel traps, wire snares and poison, agency employees have accidentally killed more than 50,000 animals since 2000 that were not problems, including federally protected golden and bald eagles; more than 1,100 dogs, including family pets; and several species considered rare or imperiled by wildlife biologists.
• Since 1987, 18 employees and members of the public have been exposed to cyanide, having triggered spring-loaded cartridges laced with poison meant to kill coyotes. They survived – but 10 people have died and others have been injured in crashes during agency aerial gunning operations over the same time period.
• A growing body of science has found the agency’s war against predators, waged to protect livestock and big game, is altering ecosystems in ways that diminish biodiversity, degrade habitat and invite disease.
Wildlife Service officer Carter Niemeyer spent 26 years with the agency, “If you read the brochures, go on their website, they play down the lethal control, which they are heavily involved in, and show you this benign side. It’s smoke and mirrors. It’s a killing business. And it ain’t pretty,” he says. “If the public knows this and they don’t care, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. But they are entitled to know.”
Records show that more than 150 species have been eliminated by Wildlife Services traps, snares and cyanide poison since 2000. The list includes: armadillos, badgers, great-horned owls, hog-nosed skunks, javelina, pronghorn antelope, porcupines, great blue herons, ruddy ducks, snapping turtles, turkey vultures, long-tailed weasels, marmots, mourning doves, red-tailed hawks, sandhill cranes and ringtails.
Read his Knudson’s full report:
Sign this and other animal rights and environmental issues on: http://www.care2.com/causes/wildlife-service-accidentally-killed-over-50000-animals.html