2 Million Animals Killed by Federal Wildlife Program in 2013
Wildlife Services, the highly secretive arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has released new data showing that the agency killed more than 2 million native animals during the last fiscal year.
The new numbers reveal a 29 percent increase in the program's killing, up almost a half-million animals since fiscal year 2012, despite an increase in public awareness.
Wildlife Services target animals deemed as pests by powerful special interests groups from the agribusiness, hunting and livestock sectors, according to Center for Biological Diversity.
“Wildlife Services has long been out of step with the values of Americans, and the new figures make clear it has no interest in changing,” said Amy Atwood, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned to reform the program last December. “These appalling new numbers show that Wildlife Services is simply thumbing its nose at the growing number of Americans demanding an end to business as usual at Wildlife Services.”
The extensive list of the 2013 killings include, amongst many others:
- more than 320 gray wolves
- 75,326 coyotes
- 419 black bears
- 866 bobcats
- 528 river otters
- 3,706 foxes
- 12,186 black-tailed prairie dogs (as well as destroyed more than 30,000 dens)
- 3 golden eagles
Operating at the tax payer's expense, the notoriously secretive Wildlife Services' killings often include non-targeted species, and insiders allege that the program actually kills many more animals than it reports.
The covert killings—which includes aerial gunning, traps and exploding poison caps—has gone on for decades with little oversight and according the Center for Biological Diversity, the agency has killed more than 26 million native animals since 1996.
“Rather than dialing back in the face of criticism, the program that has the nerve to call itself ‘Wildlife Services’ seems to be putting its foot on the pedal in its systematic slaughter of America’s wild animals,” said Atwood. “These numbers pull back the veil on a staggering killing campaign, bankrolled by taxpayers, that’s happening every day beyond the view of most Americans.”
In December 2013, along with Project Coyote, Animal Welfare Institute and Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Center for Biological Diversity launched a petition calling for new rules and an immediate reform of the agency. Also in December, Predator Defense came out with a documentary featuring former federal agents-turned-whistle-blowers who exposed the Wildlife Services for being an unaccountable, out of control, wildlife killing machine that acts at the bidding of corporate agriculture and the hunting lobby. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack responded to the groups in January, stating that he would look into the issues they raised.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Monsanto, the maker of the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup, filed a motion June 16 in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California to reconsider the chemical's addition to California's Proposition 65 list of agents known to cause cancer.
The agrochemical giant made this move based on a June 14 Reuters investigation of Dr. Aaron Blair, a lead researcher on the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) committee, that classified glyphosate as a "2A probable human carcinogen" in March 2015.
By Avery Friedman
Algae is often considered a nuisance, but for Sweden, the rapidly growing sea plant is now an asset.
As the Scandinavian country works to cut all of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, it's using algae to sop up the carbon emissions from cement.
By Itai Vardi
A recent intensification in protests against Williams Partners' planned Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Pennsylvania prompted a state senator to propose legislation aimed at limiting demonstrations.
Last month, Pennsylvania Sen. Scott Martin (R-Norman) announced his intention to introduce legislation that would pass the costs of law enforcement responding to protests onto the demonstrators. Martin also helped introduce a different bill that would criminalize protests at natural gas facilities.
The so-called "first and last mile" problem is one of the biggest hurdles with public transportation. How do you encourage more people to take Earth-friendlier commutes when their homes are miles away from the train or bus station?
One solution, as this Estonian electric scooter company proposes, is to simply take your commute with you—literally. Tallinn-based Stigo has developed a compact e-scooter that folds to the size of a rolling suitcase in about two seconds.
[Editor's note: I'm still in shock after hearing the news that Lucia Grenna passed away in her sleep last week. When we first met in April of 2014 at a Copenhagen hotel, I was immediately taken by here powerful presence. We spent the next couple days participating in a Sustainia climate change event where Lucia presented her audacious plans to connect people to the climate issue. I had the chance to partner with Lucia on several other projects throughout the years and work with her incredible Connect4Climate team. I was always in awe of her ability to "make the impossible possible." Her spirit will live on forever. — Stefanie Spear]
It is with a heavy heart that Connect4Climate announces the passing of its founder and leading light, Lucia Grenna. Lucia passed peacefully in her sleep on June 15, well before her time. We remember her for her leadership and extraordinary ability to motivate people to take on some of the greatest challenges of our time, not least climate change.
By Stacy Malkan
Neil deGrasse Tyson has inspired millions of people to care about science and imagine themselves as participants in the scientific process. What a hopeful sign it is to see young girls wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the words, "Forget princess, I want to be an astrophysicist."
As Trevor Noah noted during The Daily Show episode last night (starts at 2:25), the real reason Trump has these rallies is to "get back in front of his loyal crowds and feed of their energy." Noah believes that "Trump supporters are so on board with their dude he can say anything and they'll come along for the ride."