Every year, the US Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program spends millions of dollars on lethal, ineffective predator control, including chemical poisons such as M-44 sodium cyanide devices. Last year, Congress awarded the program $1.38 million for the development of nonlethal methods. The House version of the fiscal year 2022 Agricultural appropriations bill directs the program to focus on specific nonlethal techniques, as AWI had encouraged. These include husbandry practices such as night corralling, shed lambing, attractant and carcass removal, livestock herding, and human presence.
Another of our requests—to require the program to establish clear documentation protocols for nonlethal approaches implemented in advance of any lethal control measures—was also included. And in one of the most encouraging developments, the subcommittee responded to our concerns about Wildlife Services’ lack of transparency by requiring the program to document all work on nonlethal strategies and provide Congress a report on progress in this area within 180 days.
These are promising changes, and we are grateful to Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and 20 other representatives for submitting a letter to the subcommittee with AWI’s language requests.