The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a program to kill wild animals -- around 1.5 million of them every year. Over the years it has killed 22 million animals, spanning 476 species. U.S. taxpayers fund the slaughter, but we aren't allowed to know just what they're paying for.
The program, called Wildlife Services, isn't required to use good science or to be humane in its slaughters. Its methods include shooting animals from helicopters and using traps and poisons.
The results include killing many animals it wasn't targeting, including members of endangered species and family pets.
It is time to make Wildlife Services act responsibly, work transparently, and treat animals humanely.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
Please act on the petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and other NGOs calling for more regulation of Wildlife Services. It must be required to act more transparently and more humanely, as it hasn't done so on its own. It must try all non-lethal methods before resorting to killing; if it does kill, it must use the best science to design its strategy.
It is well past time to hold Wildlife Services accountable. Please begin the rulemaking process to make that happen.