Drive to Axe Federal Predator Eradication Program

A coalition of conservation organizations and individuals is calling on Congress to de-fund Wildlife Services [Killers] Predator Eradication Program.

This directly confronting attempts of the livestock industry to gain more money for Predator Control.

Read the exceptional letter the coalition sent to congresspeople linked to at the end of this Press Release, the other links are very informative as well.

This promises to be a drawn out battle with the Livestock industry. I think it’s an important one at bringing attention to what exactly it is that Wildlife Services‘ [Killers] does and why you shouldn’t have to pay for it anymore.

Press Release
For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 6, 2008

Drive to Axe Federal Predator Eradication Program
$100 Million Agriculture Program Slaughters 1.6 Million Wild Animals a Year

Washington, DC — A new coalition of conservation groups with a combined membership of more than 10 million is launching a campaign to abolish an entrenched federal program dedicated to killing wild carnivores. The groups argue that the predator eradication program is biologically counterproductive, uneconomical, inhumane, and creates serious safety hazards from widespread use of highly toxic agents and other lethal chemicals, equipment and techniques.

Wildlife Services, a euphemistically named arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, spends more than $100 million in taxpayer money each year to kill one wild animal every 19 seconds and one wild mammal every 150 seconds, according to 2006 figures. Wildlife Services provides agents to poison, shoot or trap animals deemed a “nuisance” to ranchers, farmers, and others. Controversial techniques used by Wildlife Services include explosive booby-traps and aerial hunts.

The new coalition is coordinated by WildEarth Guardians, which has long opposed eradication of native carnivores, such as coyotes, bobcats, foxes, bears and wolves. The coalition is asking Congress to eliminate any further funding for Wildlife Services predator control efforts.

“Wildlife Services is premised on the notion that animals considered ‘varmints’ must be shot, poisoned or killed in their dens,” said Wendy Keefover-Ring of WildEarth Guardians, who organized the coalition. “Modern wildlife management has moved beyond the ‘shoot first’ approach peddled for decades by our Agriculture Department.”

Due to a rash of accidents, mishaps and security breaches, Wildlife Services is currently undergoing a nationwide safety review of its aerial gunning and poison management programs. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now considering a ban on two of the most deadly poisons used by Wildlife Services to kill wild mammals.

“The federal government ought to get out of the wildlife extermination business,” stated Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting the conflict between federal agencies working to preserve natural predators, like the wolf, and Wildlife Services that seeks to kill wolves. “Wildlife Services is an unjustified, dangerous and needlessly cruel subsidy for agri-business.”

The call by conservation groups to curb the funding for Wildlife Services will undoubtedly be met by fierce resistance from livestock organizations.


Read the coalition letter

View the Wildlife Services track record

See the reasons for the national safety review of Wildlife Services operations

Look at EPA’s proposal to ban two of the deadliest wildlife poisons

Wendy Keefover-Ring | WildEarth Guardians | 303.447.8655, Ext 1#
Carol Goldberg | PEER | 202.265.7337







  1. barbprotectswildlife Avatar


    Do you have an e-mail address I could send you something directly and privately?

  2. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Ralph’s email can be found on this page near the bottom :

    third paragraph to the bottom.

  3. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    The coalition letter referenced above and below contains a wealth of information not only about Wildlife Service but also about welfare ranching and I strongly encourage every reader of Ralph’s blog to study the letter:

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

  4. Catbestland Avatar

    I found it very interesting that the letter points out that there are over 71 million wildlife watchers as apposed to 23,000 public lands grazing permitees. The enormous subsidies to the cattle industry do indeed equal taxation without representation.

  5. Barb Avatar

    Not to be cynical, but I don’t see how Wildlife Services can ever truly change their stripes because by their very structure, they are under the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

    Their focus will always remain “protecting livestock and AG interests” ABOVE predatory animals or other animals or native habitat. They can claim they are “researching non-lethal methods,” and maybe giving it some lip service, but their focus will always put wildlife last. They are archaic in their views of wildlife; they see wildlife as a “nuisance,” not a treasure to be protected, and therein is where the conflict lies.

    I’m hopeful however that groups who protect predators are getting together as we need numbers and $$$ to fight this gigantic and powerful industry.

    If enough people and voices become too loud for W.S. to ignore, they will feel the pressure to change their methods but they will never be a friend to the environment and animals that live there.

  6. JB Avatar

    This proposal is very well thought out. It specifically targets funding for “lethal predator control,” and leaves alone other legitimate services (i.e. research) that APHIS-WS provides.

    One question: Given that livestock industries dominate (hold captive) state Fish & Game agencies in the West, won’t we just see a switch from federally-funded predator control to state-funded federal control?

    Not trying to be a pain in anyone’s ass here, just wondering…

  7. JB Avatar

    Sorry, I meant “state-funded predator control”. Sheesh.

  8. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    The Wyoming Legislature passed a law creating an Animal Damage Management Board in 1999, based upon a similar institution in Utah. Initial purpose: to kill coyotes for the sheep industry, under the guise of conducting predator control for the “benefit of wildlife.” That’s a quotation from the Act.

    Not a single conservation organization in Wyoming worked to kill the bill. Just me, and I lost. I even tried to convince the Fish and Wildlife Service to pull the WGFD’s Pittman Robertson funds, since the Act impinged upon the authority of the G&F to manage wildlife (i.e, the Board can independently approve predator control efforts “to benefit wildlife” and also pulled funds out of the G&F Fund to conduct predator control for the benefit of the sheep industry. The FWS yawned and turned down my appeal.

    Two years ago, to expand wolf control allowed under the 10j rule and conducted by WS, the Legislature appropriated $6 million.

    So yes, we have to worry about state funding of predator control.

    Getting a federal ban, with no loopholes, on aerial gunning and poisons would go a long way to undercut state pursuit of predators.

  9. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    There will be problems with state funded predator control, but because it is a bigger budget item out of the total at the state level, funding it might generate more political opposition.

    Wyoming has to be the worst possible example, however — a state rolling in money with a political structure out of the 1920s.

  10. jimbob Avatar

    I absolutely agree with your assertion, JB, that it will just move to state control. Maybe, though, that will be an easier policy to attack and get rid of at the state level (in some states. Probably not in Wyo. though!)

  11. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Actually, I’d say Wyoming’s political structure dates back to the 1890s and has little changed from a the orginal oligarchies of the livestock and minerals industries.

  12. barbprotectswildlife Avatar

    The “cowboy states” like Montana, Idaho, Wyoming (and Alaska) are very archaic in their politics. They still see predatory animals as “bad” — something that is a ‘nuisance’ and must be “gotten rid of.’

    Actually it is the livestock grazing on open lands that is truly the ‘nuisance’ when the owners are not willing to accept any risk or loss without resorting to lethal means to “control” the natural predation.

    They are so used to a ‘sanitized West,’ where the “bad” (magnificient and hard to control) animals have been exterminated, or can be killed without any repercussions…. they just can’t deal with nature’s natural forces without whining for support from tax money.

    As the old saying goes “If you can’t dominate it or control it, kill it!”

    That’s their mantra.

    Wyoming is particularly scary.

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Brian Ertz