Change the Federal Wildlife Killing Program

  • by: Stella Gamboni
  • target: Tom Vilsack, U. S. Secretary of Agriculture

More than 100,000 animals are killed each year by Wildlife Services. Tens of thousands of animals have been killed by mistake over the past decade -- including family pets and federally protected wildlife.

The 'kill-first' mentality is especially prevalent in the West as the program focuses on killing wolves, coyotes, bears and other predators that are key to healthy ecosystems.

As a member of Care2.com, I am writing today to urge you to reform Wildlife Services into a program that can effectively resolve wildlife conflicts without relying on excessive lethal control. 

Studies have shown that Wildlife Services' heavy reliance on killing is expensive, often ineffective and can cause more problems than it aims to resolve.

We urge you to reform Wildlife Services into a program that can more effectively address wildlife conflicts by:

* Assisting livestock producers with the use of non-lethal approaches to address wildlife damage conflicts and provide incentives to livestock producers for non-lethal approaches.

* Eliminating the use of non-selective lethal controls, including sodium cyanide, theobromine, and Compound 1080

* Verifying livestock losses before any actions are taken; define how livestock losses must be documented and who must verify those losses.

* Using science-backed decision making: measure success based on reduced rates of depredation rather than body counts, and define using science-backed criteria under what circumstances Wildlife Services will initiate actions

* Not killing wolves and other predators for the purposes of artificially boosting ungulate populations such as elk and deer, especially on public lands 

We urge that you do all in your power to reform this program and make it into a good example for the rest of the world. 

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