Obama's budget would deeply cut farm subsidies, inc. Wildlife Services

Cuts include Wildlife Services-

Obama’s budget would deeply cut farm subsidies. By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times

I kind of thought Obama might not figure this out, but his budget proposal seems to take a whack at this nasty agency as well as the heretofore unstoppable subsidy payments to rich and corporate farmers.  If you want to help wildlife, please write to the President and your members of Congress urging an axe be taken to the Department of Agriculture agency Wildlife Services. Make it clear you are not asking for cuts in the Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service. These can be confused because the anti-wildlife cattle and sheep operations deliberately got the federal agency that kills wildlife, Animal Damage Control renamed “Wildlife Services.”

This is not all good news because the Department of Agriculture does have some conservation programs that protect the land, although perhaps at too high a monetary cost.

It is possible that the explanation of Governor Schweitzer’s behavior on both bison and wolves are the cuts to wasteful USDA programs, including the federal wolf killing agency.  I personally think that cutting Wildlife Services budget is one of the best things we can do to protect our native wildlife from government directed killing.

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Cuts to Wildlife Service’s proposed by Obama’s budget.  Note that FY 2012 begins on October 1, 2011

page 84
Wildlife Services:
Wildlife Damage Management

2010 enacted $79 million
2011 Estimate $79 million
2012 Budget $69 million.  Ask for zero, RM



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  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    So people ask me what to do with the many threats to wolf restoration and wildlife in general.

    I’m not sure letters asking for changes to “paragraph c of section 2311” (of whatever) are very effective given the eve of a possible government shutdown, massive budget cuts which could restructure America, etc.. However, eliminating the agency Wildlife Services in USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) is easy to understand and on the table.

    1. wolf moderate Avatar
      wolf moderate

      If the entire budget of WS is cut, then who would remove problem wolves (or animals in general for that matter)? Just curious how that would work…

      1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

        wolf moderate,

        If the agency is zeroed out, then a new one can be created to take care of this without the bad history of this one (it has been around in one form or another since the 1920s).

        Another possibility with so many people hollering “states rights,” is the states can pay for it. If costs of a program are spread over the entire United States, but benefits concentrated to a small group there is always more likelihood for fiscal irresponsibility.

        Because it is really more of a county issue, maybe the counties could pay or the livestock owners could create a self-funded insurance fund. That would surely reduce the cost and prevent predator control from being excessive.

      2. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate

        Ok, thanks.

        So possibly defunding WS and renaming it or possibly starting a new agency that does the same thing as WS (Just w/o the bad press?). Having states manage problem wolves doesn’t seem like an option, since the feds are the one not allowing the states to allow hunting and management of the wolves. Once they are delisted then of course states should manage them.

        I figured since the wolves were on the ESA, that any issues that came about due to the wolves would be paid for by the federal government (because they are mandating wolves in the states). I guess we’ll just have to “stay tuned”!

      3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

        wolf moderate,

        In terms of activity, wolf control is just a tiny bit of what Wildlife Services does. In terms of livestock, it is mostly coyote control and all 50 states of course.

        Feral hogs are killed in some places. They kill millions of birds. I could go on. We recently had a post on it.

        So I wasn’t really talking about it in relation to wolf control in the current baffling (to me) situation.

      4. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate

        Ok I see. Yeah, I knew they killed coyotes and stuff also. I guess they are a “rogue” agency, if they are killing birds and animals outside there jurisdiction (or whatever you call it).

      5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

        Wolf Moderate,

        Here are the data from Wildlife Service’s web site on the national summary of the number of animals taken in 2009 by species, with some other information


  2. Savebears Avatar

    Wolf Mod,

    The whole country is their jurisdiction…

    1. Jon Way Avatar

      But I believe they focus the vast majority of their resources on public lands in the west. For instance of the 1000s of coyotes killed, mostly on our land, only a fraction are killed East of the Mississippi River.

  3. Nancy Avatar

    Its interesting as you go down the list, the huge numbers of animals killed (coyotes, skunks, birds) that are related to ranching & farming (not to mention the fishing industry)

    Any numbers available Ralph for the money spent for manpower, supplies, air time, etc?

  4. louise wagenknecht Avatar
    louise wagenknecht

    Back when I worked for the Forest Service and amused myself on slow winter days by delving into the historical files, I learned that Animal Damage Control was originally called Wildlife Services, back in the 1900s. Not sure when they changed it to ADC.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      louise wagenknecht,

      For many years it was named PARC (Predator and Rodent Control). Then it became ADC again, perhaps reflecting a broader mission to kill a wider variety of animals.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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