The Force of the Horse

Agriculture Department’s ‘Wildlife Services’ Killed Nearly 1.5 Million Native Animals in 2018

Source: Center for Biological Diversity

The arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services killed nearly 1.5 million native animals during 2018, according to new data released by the agency this week!

The multimillion-dollar federal wildlife-killing program targets wolves, coyotes, cougars, birds and other wild animals for destruction — primarily to benefit the agriculture industry. Of the 2.6 million animals killed last year, nearly 1.5 million were native wildlife species.

“I’m outraged that the Department of Agriculture continues to needlessly slaughter our important native wildlife,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There’s simply no scientific basis for continuing to shoot, poison and strangle more than a million animals every year. Even pets and endangered species are being killed, and it has to stop.”

According to the latest report, the federal program last year intentionally killed 357 gray wolves; 68,186 adult coyotes, plus an unknown number of coyote pups in 361 destroyed dens; 515,915 red-winged blackbirds; 338 black bears; 375 mountain lions; 1,002 bobcats; 173 river otters plus 537 killed “unintentionally”; 3,349 foxes, plus an unknown number of fox pups in 133 dens; and 22,521 beavers.

The program also killed 17,739 prairie dogs outright, as well as an unknown number killed in more than 47,547 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 many more animals than it reports.

According to the new data, the wildlife-killing program unintentionally killed more than 2,700 animals last year, including bears, bobcats, foxes, muskrats, otters, porcupines, raccoons and turtles. Its killing of non-target birds included chickadees, cardinals, ducks, eagles, hawks, herons, owls and turkeys.

Dozens of domestic animals, including pets and livestock, were also killed or caught. Such data reveals the indiscriminate nature of painful leg-hold traps, strangulation snares, poisons and other methods used by federal agents.

“The barbaric, outdated tactics Wildlife Services uses to destroy America’s animals are appalling and need to end,” Adkins said. “Wolves, bears and other carnivores help balance the web of life where they live. They should be protected, not persecuted.”

The wildlife-killing program contributed to the decline of gray wolves, Mexican wolves, black-footed ferrets, black-tailed prairie dogs and other imperiled species during the first half of the 1900s and continues to impede their recovery today.

7 replies »

  1. CRUELTY to animals, also called animal abuse or animal neglect, is the human infliction of suffering or harm upon any non-human animal, for purposes other than self-defense or survival.

    … and to think that my tax dollars supported this makes me SICK.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is no different than the slaughter of the buffalo hundreds of years ago – the slaughter of wolves, mountain lions, & every other once abundant species. We – humans – simply do NOT have the right to do this! I honestly do NOT have words to describe how I feel every time I see these ungodly numbers. And yes, to top it off – we the US taxpayers are funding this absolute tragedy.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Damn the Wildlife services. If they are allowed to kill so many wild animals, they are trying to make every species become extinct. I am so outraged. This must be stopped now. Just totally animal cruelty and barbaric acts of pain inflicted on our precious wildlife. All of these people should be sentenced in court for their massive abuse to animals. Name them all, fire them. Shame on our government employees. Who are the people responsible for such misery? Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have to stop the killings now. OMG such horror on s many species. Time is of essence. We have to fight this horror. Our wild horses and burros are so fragile as well. This makes me SICK.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. There are no words to describe how much contempt I have for US Fish & Wildlife Service. They arent scientists, they arent conservationists, they arent ecologists, and they certainly arent human. If they have biology degrees they are gotten from a phony online university. A Land Management or Biology degree should not equal full right to slaughter any animal you come in contact with. And yet that is what these cowards do. This agency could be so great and yet it grovels in the dirt before the cattle industry, anti-wildlife lobbyists, and Koch Brother owned Republican Congressmen and women. Id like to think it will be fixed but it is unlikely. Largely because no one cares, except for the few people who comment here I guess.
    A few final words. It is not only the killing, it is the celebration of their kills, it’s posing grinning for selfies with dead animals, it’s the bragging, it’s the futility of it – all on our dime. USFWS employees reading this. May you have the same fate as the helpless animals you decimate.

    Liked by 1 person

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