Six environmental groups, led by the Center for Biological Diversity, scored a victory in the USDA’s war on wildlife when a San Francisco Division of Federal Court ruled that USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services violated federal law by failing or refusing to conduct environmental analyses in California’s North District where ‘animal damage management activities’ are conducted.
The North District includes areas within the boundaries of the following 16 counties: Butte, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, and Yuba.
The USDA’s deceptively named “Wildlife Services” Program is responsible for killing over 1.66 million animals in the US in 2016 alone, including black bears, gray wolves, bobcats and mountain lions. In California, Wildlife Services killed 35,193 animals in 2016; among them include:
836 Beavers 18 Bobcats 108 Gray Foxes 250 Ravens
74 Black Bears 3,893 Coyotes 74 Mountain Lions 150 Red-Tailed Hawks
Funded by your tax dollars, Wildlife Services uses methods that are cruel, inflict pain and suffering, and which endanger and kill untold thousands of pets. Other non-target protected species, such as wolves, Pacific fishers, bald and golden eagles, and spotted owls – are especially vulnerable to the indiscriminate killing methods of Wildlife Services.
A sample of the program’s gruesome kill methods include neck snares, body grip traps, steel-jawed leg/foothold traps, glue traps, spring-powered harpoon traps, aerial shooting, M-44 Cyanide bombs, Sodium fluoroacetate toxic collars, pesticide staging/feedlots, and Zinc phosphate poisoning. The court directed Wildlife Services to collaborate with the California Department of Agriculture to conduct updated Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) in the North District. Additionally, WS agreed to suspend its use of EPA-labeled pesticides targeting mammalian species within the region. The agency also agreed to use non-lead ammunition exclusively and to forego the use of body-gripping traps, glue traps, and/or spring-powered harpoon traps in Wilderness Areas and Wilderness Study areas, as well as suspend aerial shooting operations in these areas.
The Wildlife Services program operates in the shadows with scant accountability, ignores more effective, non-lethal alternatives for native predator control, and poses a threat to public safety by deploying inhumane tactics such as cyanide bombs. Drawing attention to the indiscriminate and brutal killing methods of Wildlife Services, which are often at odds with sound science and at times illegal, will be a continued focus of Lindsay Wildlife’s advocacy efforts.
In service to the wildlife you care about,
Cheryl M. McCormick, Ph.D.
Lindsay Wildlife Experience