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Forum Post: Did the US Government Have Any Reason for Killing 4.3 Million Animals in 2013?

Posted 7 years ago on June 27, 2014, 2:12 a.m. EST by LeoYoh (115)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Did the US Government Have Any Reason for Killing 4.3 Million Animals in 2013?

Thursday, 26 June 2014 09:49
By Judy Molland, Care2 | Report


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) murdered 4.3 million wild animals, of which 2 million were native species, in fiscal year 2013. The animals included three eagles, one bald and two golden, which are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Also killed were 75,326 coyotes; 345 mountain lions; 321 wolves, including one very rare Mexican gray wolf; 603 monkeys; 6,498 vultures; 10,486 mynas, a type of starling; and 37 frogs, among many others.

How can this be?

On the one hand, we have the Endangered Species Act, signed into law in 1973 by President Richard Nixon who, in one of his finer moments, declared:

“Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed. It is a many-faceted treasure, of value to scholars, scientists and nature lovers alike, and it forms a vital part of the heritage we all share as Americans.”

The Act has been responsible for saving numerous species from becoming extinct.

On the other hand, there’s a program called Wildlife Services, which falls under the USDA agency Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and is tasked with managing invasive species and handling wildlife when it interferes with human activities like agriculture and property threats.

“Wildlife Services” has a positive ring to it, but perhaps its former name, “Animal Damage Control,” is a more accurate description.

Because, instead of preserving species, it massacres them. The number of animals killed varies widely from year to year, hitting a peak of 5 million in 2008 after remaining at a relatively low 1.5 million in the early 2000s. And last year it reached a disgraceful 4.3 million.

Over 15 years, at least 40 million animals have been shot, poisoned, snared and trapped by Wildlife Services, which says only that the exterminations are a service to those who “experience damage from wildlife each year.” There’s little data showing the cause for each killing, the exact methods used and the reasons behind the massive numbers of “unintentional” destruction.

Wildlife Services’ primary purpose is supposed to be the eradication of invasive creatures introduced from other parts of the world.

But Wildlife Services also kills native animals en masse.

Here’s how it works: a rancher who thinks wolves are attacking his herd can call in the government, and it will trap, poison, shoot from helicopters, or otherwise wipe out whatever wolves its personnel find nearby just as though it were a private company working for a customer.

As Carson Barylak, federal policy advisor at the Animal Welfare Institute, put it: “Wildlife Services has long ignored sound science in establishing its priorities, instead taking its cues from ranchers and other ‘cooperators.’ The influence of these private interests has taken precedence over the ecological principles that should be guiding the agency’s decisions, and wildlife is suffering as a result.”

Let’s think about this: this massive wildlife carnage has been perpetrated to placate ranchers and farmers. Ranchers and farmers slaughter millions of cows, chickens, turkeys, pigs, lambs and other so-called “food animals.”

So Wildlife Services is killing millions of innocent animals as a favor to special interests that also kill innocent animals.

In addition to the animals noted above, 2013′s toll of 2 million native American animals included 866 bobcats, 528 river otters, 3,700 foxes, 12,186 prairie dogs, 973 red-tailed hawks and 419 black bears.

You can read the state-by-state report in a 665-page document that details the method of an animal’s capture, along with how many were killed, destroyed, released or relocated, but don’t give any reason for the capture. Some captures are listed as “unintentional,” including the three eagle kills, one of which was captured by “M-44 Cyanide Capsule.” It makes for very depressing and infuriating reading.

Other methods include paint balls, vehicles, traps, neck snares, bombs and “pyrotechnics” — “like shooting firecrackers at a bunch of birds to get them to move,” said Amy Atwood, a senior attorney at the environmental nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity.

Atwood described Wildlife Services’ work as “a staggering killing campaign, bankrolled by taxpayers” and happening “beyond the view of most Americans”.

Last December, the center filed a petition demanding that the agency explain the exact reasons why it makes each kill of a native animal, for whose benefit and the methods used. The petition called Wildlife Services “a rogue agency” that was “out of control.”

If you agree that U.S. Wildlife Services is out of control, and needs to be held accountable, please sign our petition demanding that the organization act responsibly, work transparently, and treat animals humanely.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.



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[-] 2 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 7 years ago

I find it near impossible to believe that all of those animals posed significant threats to people or their property. With such a staggering increase taking place over the last decade or so, my first hunch is that at least half were killed to serve the interests of developers, which I hate to begin with for a number of reasons. They have proven year after year that they have no regard whatsoever for the wake up destruction left behind in 'loser' communities as they transfer jobs, wealth, and revenue from communities already developed to others which are developed needlessly.

It would not surprise me one little bit if 1/2 or more of these innocent animals were killed simply because they occupied areas which developers wanted for their own self-centered purposes. Real-estate developers in particular, have proven year after year that nothing matters to them but profits.

[-] 2 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 7 years ago

I wonder how Texas ranked in the killing of wildlife last year.

A Texas Land Rush Has Builders Too Busy - Businessweek www.businessweek.com/.../2013.../in-texass-ho... Bloomberg Businessweek Oct 10, 2013 - By Prashant Gopal October 10, 2013 ... James Gaines, a research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, is concerned rising ...

Department of Agriculture's wildlife hit list www.seattlepi.com/.../Department-of-Agricultur... Seattle Post‑Intelligencer 7 days ago - More than 700,000 wild animals, half of them in Texas, were exterminated last year by the wildlife ... See the numbers of of each species that were killed below.

and Colorado.

Apartment Developers Are Busy in Boulder | The Blue Line www.boulderblueline.org/.../apartment-developers-are-busy-in-boulder/ Apr 30, 2014 - Apartment Developers Are Busy in Boulder ... The unemployment rate in the metro area in March was 6.2%, down from 6.8% in March of 2013. ... but few developers are building those types of units in Colorado due to ...

Apartment Developers Busy Throughout Metro Denver ... apartmentperspective.com/2013/.../apartment-developers-busy-througho... Nov 29, 2013 - Apartment developers are building new communities across the seven counties ... of 2013: There were 15612 apartment units under construction.


[-] 2 points by Nevada1 (5843) 7 years ago


[-] 1 points by Shule (2638) 7 years ago

I'm more worried about all those people the U.S.A. government killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan Libya, Syria, Yeman and the rest of the middle-east....and is still killing.

[-] 3 points by trashyharry (3084) from Waterville, NY 7 years ago

The Dominant Culture is Necrophilous.When they are not gaining profit from murdering and killing people and animals by methods fast or slow,they kill and murder any living thing that stands in the way of accumulating more capital.They love mass death of living things because that means they will keep more of what they have and/or gain more profits.It seems like they are comfortable with that,so there must be something wrong with their brains.

[-] 2 points by Shule (2638) 7 years ago

It is said that about 2% of the human population is psychopathic. I think these people get thier jollies from just killing. I believe they'd do it even if there was no money involved. To them to knock a few people off, and then to make a few bucks on top, and then be declared a hero or a mastermind to boot, wow, that is icing on the cake.

[-] 1 points by trashyharry (3084) from Waterville, NY 7 years ago

The entire culture revolves around death,murder,and total exploitation.Why do they insist that there be no alternative on earth to Capitalism? Because people would gradually start getting the hell away from the inherent ghoulishness and ugliness of the Meat Market Mentality.

[-] 2 points by Shule (2638) 7 years ago

What amazes me most is that too many people here in the U.S. actaully believe in the "free market" capitalism B.S.; even when it is doing them in. I don't get it.

[-] 1 points by trashyharry (3084) from Waterville, NY 7 years ago

Well,when they can't take care of their kids,they will have to wake up.Right now I can't see how the whole thing is holding together.I guess a sharp rise in inflation might give people a jolt.At the moment,the Fed has no way to stop a catastrophic spike in inflation should it occur-and inflation has been rising steadily for awhile.I think the official figure of 2.1% is fake.They really need across the board large tax increases on corporations and the Rich,but can't do anything but raise taxes on everybody else by a tiny amount while placing huge increases on things like fees and permits.They can't raise interest rates because the Elites are borrowing money for their speculative activities and won't allow it.Rich people are opposed to any policy that might help us,and I don't know if Americans are just going to continue to ignore what is going on around them,or what.They must figure everything is fine until the problems ruin their own families in a direct and immediate way.I have heard that scientific research has been done on the lack of ability of people to respond to trends.It is thought to be a weakness in the psychology of humans.

[-] 1 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago


plants don't get very big in the ocean because the sunlight is reflected

most sea creatures bigger than a dime are carnivores

living in the water takes much less energy

so sea creatures stretch that plant energy further on the food chain than land creatures