Ask Your Representative to Support Reform of USDA's Wildlife Services Program

Date: 
Thursday, February 6, 2014

Please join AWI in our efforts to reform USDA’s Wildlife Services (WS) program - Photo by Rylee IsittDear Humanitarian,

Please join AWI in our efforts to reform USDA's Wildlife Services (WS) program. This rogue federal program kills millions of animals in the United States each year, including ecologically critical native carnivores, threatened and endangered species, and non-target animals, all in the name of "managing problems caused by wildlife." It operates with notoriously little transparency, refusing the public access to records documenting many of its killing activities, and actively misleads its critics. The program engages in myriad cruel practices, often at the behest of ranchers and other private interests, at a substantial cost to taxpayers. Specifically, Wildlife Services:

  • Kills indiscriminately. WS has killed more than 50,000 non-target animals representing over 150 species since 2000, including endangered species and family pets.
  • Uses cruel traps. WS relies on steel-jaw leghold traps, strangling snares, and other cruel devices that cause excruciating and prolonged pain to their victims.
  • Poisons wildlife. WS uses dangerous poisons including Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide to non-selectively kill wildlife, which has led to countless painful and unnecessary deaths. These poisons also threaten pets and even humans.
  • Ignores humane, nonlethal options. Although alternatives to WS' inhumane and lethal predator control tools are available and have been shown to successfully deter depredation, WS primarily relies on lethal—and often brutal—methods.
  • Disregards science. Overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that WS' killing activities are unfounded in science, yet the program has consistently ignored sound science and continued with business as usual.
  • Harms the environment. WS non-selectively kills native carnivores in a misguided attempt to protect game and livestock, ignoring the serious environmental consequences of removing these keystone predators.
  • Overlooks employees' misconduct. It has been over a year since AWI called upon WS to investigate trapper Jamie Olson, an employee who allowed his dogs to attack trapped, already-suffering coyotes while on the clock. An investigation into this misconduct—which, despite the public's substantial interest in the matter, was revealed only after WS documents were leaked—resulted in no substantive disciplinary action.

The myriad problems plaguing WS underscore the need for substantial changes to program culture and procedure. The program's ineffective, inhumane, and irresponsible practices threaten human health, animal welfare, and the environment. Ask your legislators to stop the use of taxpayer dollars to indiscriminately and cruelly kill wildlife, and demand transparency and accountability from Wildlife Services.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Congressmen Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and John Campbell (R-CA) are leading a bipartisan effort to reform USDA Wildlife Services. Please contact your representative by phone, email, or fax and ask that they join this effort to bring about positive change within Wildlife Services.

To find your representative's contact information, and send them an email through AWI's Compassion Index, click here.

Take Action by clicking here

Sample message:
As one of your constituents, I urge you to help protect wildlife, family pets, and public safety by calling for and supporting reform within USDA's Wildlife Services program. This program has long engaged in cruel, ineffective and costly practices to manage wildlife—often to serve private interests rather than the American public—and has shown an alarming lack of transparency and accountability. Please join Congressmen DeFazio and Campbell in their efforts to bring an end to the use of taxpayer funds to support inhumane and wasteful predator control and other wildlife management activities.
Thank you,
[Your Name]

Please be sure to share our "Dear Humanitarian" eAlert with family, friends, and co-workers, and encourage them to contact their Representatives, too. As always, thank you very much for your help!

Sincerely,

Cathy Liss
President

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