Write to U.S. Senator Herb Kohl to cut USDA Wildlife Services Funding

American Sheep Industry Association asks key U.S. Senator not to cut funding for notorious wildlife killing agency-

The President has proposed cutting the budget of USDA Wildlife Services by 10-million dollars. President Obama said there needs to be shared sacrifice although so far it seems to be teachers, police, sick people, students, science, reproductive health, food inspection, and pollution control that is doing all the sacrifice under GOP pressure.

The sheep and cattle industry certainly doesn’t want to be cut, and they are working their classic strategy of contacting a key U.S. Senator asking for a quiet restoration of funds. In this case they are contacting U.S. Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin. He heads the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Related Agencies on the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. Senate.

If you want to fight back effectively for once, contact Senator Kohl, asking for deeper cuts, especially for aerial gunning of wildlife. bigger cuts for so-called “livestock protection,” and no funding for the use of poisons like the poison 1080. Kohl’s web site only accepts Wisconsin email contacts, but here are the telephone and fax numbers for his Washington office (202) 224-5653; Fax: (202) 224-9787

Here is the complete list of U. S. senators on the subcommittee. If you are in their state, it is best to contact them, and you can do it by email. Senators don’t make it easy for non-constituents to contact them. That is one reason why special interest groups hire lobbyists.

Democratic Members

* Senator Herb Kohl (Chairman) (WI)
* Senator Tom Harkin (IA)
* Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA)
* Senator Tim Johnson (SD)
* Senator Ben Nelson (NE)
* Senator Mark Pryor (AR)
* Senator Sherrod Brown (OH)

Republican Members

* Senator Roy Blunt (Ranking) (MO)
* Senator Thad Cochran (MS)
* Senator Mitch McConnell (KY)
* Senator Susan Collins (ME)
* Senator Jerry Moran (KS)
* Senator John Hoeven (ND)

– – – – – –

OK, here is a letter the livestock industry wrote to Senator Kohl. Notice the signers, a real rouge’s gallery.

February 28, 2011

The Honorable Herb Kohl, Chairman
Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Kohl:

The undersigned national and state sheep and cattle producer organizations, joined by industry associations, wildlife organizations, local and state government, strongly support an increase in the Livestock Protection Program of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services in the FY 2012 appropriations for agriculture.

We ask for your active opposition to the proposal of the Administration to reduce Wildlife Services by over $10 million with elimination of the federal partnership in livestock protection in several states including South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. We are also concerned by the recent action taken by the House of Representatives on the FY 20011 Continuing Resolution (CR) with regards to reductions in APHIS funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. The FY2011 CR passed by the house cuts the funding for APHIS programs by approximately $77.6 million from FY 2010 levels. Our concern is that agency funding cuts of this magnitude will have a disproportional effect on Wildlife Services livestock protection activities.

We extend our sincere appreciation for your support and leadership in Congress for the USDA Wildlife Services which is a crucial program for a healthy sheep and cattle industry in America and as evidenced by this letter, strongly supported by numerous cooperators from wildlife organizations to state and local government.

We commend your inclusion of a line item for livestock protection funding, which began in the FY 2006 appropriations with an increase of $700,000.

The Wildlife Services livestock protection program is vital to the economic survival of the livestock industry. Livestock protection is important to tens of thousands of farm families across the country that recognize that even with federal assistance joining private and state agency efforts, over 250,000 sheep and nearly 150,000 cattle are still lost to predators each year. The value of livestock lost to predators and predator control costs are major expenses of livestock production, particularly as the costs of control, such as fuel, continue to increase.

Without additional federal funding to support existing western livestock protection programs, predation management expertise will be lost and livestock grazing in some areas will be jeopardized. Our associations join in requesting an additional $8.3 million for USDA’s Wildlife Services for livestock protection.

Livestock protection is the base of the Wildlife Services agency, yet collectively in our state programs we find cooperators carrying more and more of the funding responsibilities as increased federal funds tend to be more non-livestock oriented. It is important to note the federal, state, county and private cooperation to fund livestock protection. To emphasize the cooperative funding already in place, the policy of the Western Governors Association supports funding of Wildlife Services for livestock protection.

We ask for your support of this appropriations priority for the sheep and cattle industries. Please let us know of any questions or requests that we can assist with on this important issue.

American Sheep Industry Association
Arizona Cattle Growers Association
Arizona Wool Producers Association
California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association
California Cattlemen’s Association
California Farm Bureau Federation
California Public Lands Council
California Wool Growers Association
Colorado Cattlemen’s Association
Colorado Farm Bureau
Colorado Wool Growers Association
Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council
Hawaii Sheep and Goat Association
Idaho Cattle Association
Idaho Farm Bureau Federation
Idaho Wool Growers Association
Kansas Livestock Association
Kansas Sheep Association
Montana Association of State Grazing Districts
Montana Public Lands Council
Montana State Cattlemen’s Association
Montana Stockgrowers Association
Montana Wool Growers Association
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
National Lamb Feeders Association
National Rifle Association
Nebraska Sheep and Goat Producers Association
Nevada Farm Bureau
Nevada Cattlemen’s Association
Nevada Department of Agriculture
Nevada State Grazing Boards Central Committee
Nevada Wool Growers Association
New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association
New Mexico Department of Agriculture
New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau
New Mexico Federal Lands Council
New Mexico Wool Growers, Inc.
North Dakota Department of Agriculture
North Dakota Game and Fish Department
North Dakota Lamb and Wool Producers Association
North Dakota Stockmen’s Association
Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association
Oregon Cattlemen’s Association
Oregon Department of Agriculture
Oregon Farm Bureau
Oregon Sheep Growers Association
Public Lands Council
South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association
South Dakota Sheep Growers Association
Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Texas
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
Texas Deer Association
Texas Predator Control Districts
Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers’ Association
Texas Wildlife Association
Utah Cattlemen’s Association
Utah Department of Agriculture and Food
Utah Farm Bureau
Utah Wool Growers Association
Washington Cattlemen’s Association
Washington State Sheep Producers
Wyoming Stock Growers Association
Wyoming Wool Growers Association



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  1. Jon Way Avatar

    The fact that the National Rifle Association is there just shows that they want to be perceived as a bunch of rednecks that should be allowed to kill things b.c of their 1st amendment rights. Why else would they ever be on this list. Unbelievable.

    1. william huard Avatar
      william huard

      The NRA in PA just prevented a deal with the PA legislature to stop slob pigeon shooting in that state. They interjected with their usual defense- that this was not about banning pigeon shooting and was about banning all hunting. Sound familiar! Same approach with guns. Extremely irresponsible blood drenched organization

      1. jon Avatar

        Just like the situation with sci and african lions William. They will use any excuse they can to keep activities like that going. close to 6000 african lions dead by sport hunters in close to 10 years and they still want to keep it going.

  2. Ken Cole Avatar

    The livestock industry wants nothing more than complete control over wildlife and refuses to pay their own way.

    Just read this letter by the president of the Oregon Cattle Association complaining that they need more handouts. In Oregon they are refusing to let the ODFW visit a depredation site to confirm whether wolves killed livestock or not. Instead they call in the local sherrif and Wildlife Services.


  3. Nancy Avatar

    ++Livestock protection is the base of the Wildlife Services agency, yet collectively in our state programs we find cooperators carrying more and more of the funding responsibilities as increased federal funds tend to be more non-livestock oriented+

    Anyone care to expound on that statement?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      What little good Wildlife Services does is controlling feral pigs, hogs, and keeping large birds like Canada geese from airport approaches. These welfare ranchers have been coddled, nursed, and burped for 80 years now; and they want a larger percentage of Wildlife Services money killing things on public lands and around their livestock operations.

      1. Phil Avatar

        Ralph: “…coddled, nursed and burped for 80 years now;…” That was funny. I have seen this more so in the NRM region then ranchers/farmers any where else. I do not see ranchers being “coddled” so much here in Michigan then the ones in IDaho, Montana and Wyoming do. Would you have any suggestions as to why this is?

      2. Immer Treue Avatar
        Immer Treue


        Smaller operations, and most of GL states grazing is on private lands would be my guess.

      3. WM Avatar

        To me the issue is not one of decreasing the amount of WS resources, but rather how they are used. The need, for example to deal with a very real and growing problem with feral hogs and reducing bird strikes at airports needs more emphasis. So, I will not be writing in favor of a reduction of WS budget, rather, emphasis on priority species, including rats and starlings is my focus.

        And, I am sure to the dismay of many who post here, I think the WS role in dealing with “problem” wolves (or approved 10(j) reductions as contemplated, and stated and restated in the reintroduction, needs to be allowed to go forward until such time as this entire delisting thing gets sorted out by reasonable minds.

        Where we are right now is pathetic, due to a technical flaw of the ESA which does not permit delisting within DPS areas where there is no need for wolf protection other than keeping states on track, with good intent, to meet the obligations of their approved wolf management plans. That means managing for the numbers in the plans for example ID at 500 wolves over the long term, and not the minimums of the ambiguous 1994 EIS of 100/10 breeding pairs of wolves per state with some kind of minor buffer.

      4. Immer Treue Avatar
        Immer Treue


        I am pro-wolf, and in the short time I have been posting on this blog, I would hope that folks understand that. So here comes my blasphemy. I agree with each of your three points.

        If one goes onto some of the other blogs, it is obvious there are a majority of posters who only want wolf numbers managed. They write in their posts, that wolves are here to stay. All they hope for is a working arrangement so that wolves are managed in fair and sustainable numbers.

        At the 2000 Wolf symposia in Duluth, many presenters were addressing this very topic. I don’t think anyone took the 100 wolves per state seriously at that time, however, if the 1500+ number was thrown out there, it would have been a tough sell.

        The true wolf-haters wear blinkers, and to them, the only good wolf is a dead wolf. I’ve sparred with many of them, one in particular. No matter how many times I have written that I am in favor of sound, fair chase, sustainable numbers for wolf management, in his mind, I am one of the people responsible for people hating wolves. The point is, one will never satisfy this extreme, so the majority must be addressed. The points you listed, in brief, would address I believe the majority of people who are content living with wolves, and the pro-wolf folks who truly understand the nature of the wolf and the controversy upon which the wolf is surrounded .

      5. Salle Avatar

        With all this conversation it occurs to me that Americans want to have a completely risk-free lifestyle and an antiseptic environment so that they can go on living in that dream-like state of bliss that only comes with sleep, comas, and drugs. “Let’s clean up the planet so that we can trash it uninterrupted by those pesky native species…”

        What a sad fantasy the advertising TeeVee propaganda machine hath wrought… And so many of those reason-impaired devotees just sheeple along to the edge of the abyss… Maybe if we, as a social unit, could get a grip on the fact that once humans do actually rid the world of all those pesky inconveniences, there will be nothing left to live for, there will be a “turning point” in how we go about dealing with life itself.

  4. jon Avatar

    I’m really confused here. Why is the nra on that list? Wildlife services is a very big threat to wildlife all over. Cutting some of their funding is part of a long term goal and that is getting rid of wildlife services altogether. Let them know that wildlife is much more important than livestock.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      The NRA supports pretty much all measures that are harmful to wildlife. They have become a multi-purpose right wing extremist organization going far beyond their efforts to stop gun control, and give information about guns, ammo, shooting.

      1. Elk275 Avatar

        That is the reason that I do not belong to the NRA anymore; I am not alone. I shoot at the Livingston, Montana range instead of the Manhattan, Montana range where one has to be a member of the NRA. I do feel that they do a good job with gun control, gun safety and the shooting sports.

  5. Phil Avatar

    Thanks Immer

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Wildlife Services competes with private pest control. USDA Wildlife Services is socialism.

    For those conservative senators who think government spending is socialism, you can point out that Wildlife Services competes with private pest control, and looks like private pest control people would appreciate some help against the government freebies. Why should livestock barons have this free government service rather than pay for what is obviously a private matter.

    It is socialism for the livestock industry.

  7. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    Perhaps a list of and contact info for the other members of this subcommittee and the Appropriations Committee of the whole would also be useful.

    Our own western Senators and Congresspersons especially need to hear from those of us who consider Wildlife Services to be a rogue disservice without sufficient oversight or public accountability. Especially.

    At some point, the Arch-Republican right wing conservative belief in ” personal responsibility” and ” free enterprise” must be summarily expanded to include livestock. It is well past time that stockgrowers assumed most if not all the responsibility for their allegedly valuable 4-legged property, instead of foisting predator management onto the backs of the taxpayer’s treasury.

    It cost the State of Wyoming almost $ 1,000 per coyote eradicated in one recent budget year. In Wyoming, county predator control boards ( state funded) are full partners with Wildlife Services and they work cooperatively these days. Back when they were separate entities, you could determine costs from dissecting the budgets, as I did above.

    For instance, if ranchers had to pay for all the wolf control they wanted out of their collective pockets, it would pencil out to a few thousand $$$ per wolf under present management practices. Pretty soon , ranchers would be guarding their cattle 24/7 with vigor.

    Isn’t that ” free enterprise” ? Cover your own costs on the path to profit ?

    I have to agree , if on the curve, that Wildlife Services is Socialism. Much of western stockgrowing is, actually.

    The modern cattle baron puts a big cud of ( subsidized) tobacco chew in his mustrachioed craw, then proceeds to spit it back at us out of both sides of his mouth while holding his hand out. Maybe we need to do a telling video…Modern Socialist Ranching.

    1. Nancy Avatar

      ++For instance, if ranchers had to pay for all the wolf control they wanted out of their collective pockets, it would pencil out to a few thousand $$$ per wolf under present management practices. Pretty soon , ranchers would be guarding their cattle 24/7 with vigor++

      That seems to be it in a nutshell CC. So many of us here and elsewhere get it, its like a no brainer.

      1. william huard Avatar
        william huard

        Good point Nancy, but your idea makes way to much sense for this political climate

      2. Rita K.Sharpe Avatar
        Rita K.Sharpe

        Yes.CC,That seems to be it in a nutshell.

    2. STG Avatar

      Great comment, Cody Coyote!

    3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Cody Coyote,

      I had been calling public land ranchers “socialists” for about 15 years, when a colleague of mine, a political scientist and a conservative, explained to me that here in the West it wasn’t really socialism but a form of feudalism.

      He largely convinced me. Although a simplification, that is why I have taken to using terms from middle age Europe to describe the cattle and sheep aristocracy and the political system they dominate in this backward state — the land barons with their fiefdoms and we subjects, peasants, or serfs.

  8. Phil Avatar

    WM: Do you believe that the WS is solely dealing/killing only “problem” wolves? I do not believe it is a flaw in the ESA, I believe this “flaw” of yours is designated to keep states like Idaho and such from their “good intent” of drastically decreasing the wolf population not to benefit conspecifics and the ecosystems, but to benefit the outfitters and ranchers. 100 wolves in each state is an absolute joke. I understand that this was the count level proposed by the Fish and Wildlife Service back in the 80s, but times change along with ecosystems, and only 100 (totaling 300) is basically a genocidal/slaughter plan. A niche of a wolf would not be possible to its fullest extent with only 100 wolves. If there was no plan set by the FWS a couple decades ago or so, what would you think the proper numbers would be set at from Idaho, Montana and Wyoming? Realistically, I believe it would be 0 at worst, and 50 at best.

  9. Barbara Bussell Avatar

    Please help to protect the wolves all over America. If this bill is passed it will mean a death sentence to a majority of the wolves.
    These animals are a very important part of our ecosystem. They keep the wild herds healthy by hunting the sick,weak,lame amd old of the herds of Elk,Deer, Moose, Buffaloes, amd Antelopes.
    Wild dogs are also responsible for the losses of the livestock. Some hunters do not go after their dogs and bring them back, if they do not return after the hunt. So the wolves are blamed for this. I saw this thing happen when I was in Louisiana. I saddled up my horse and went to the crys if a calf which was being attacked by some wild dogs. Thank God I got it back to it’s owner.

    1. Rita K.Sharpe Avatar
      Rita K.Sharpe

      Barabara, I agree with you about the wild dogs and, sad to say, they are more of a threat to livestock and humans, young and old.I want to say that when people get tired of taking care of their dogs;they set them free and let them fend for themselves.They either form packs,or whind up roaming around farms,or then you find the ones that just sits at the spot where the owner dumped them just waiting for them to come back. I live in a state that has this problems with packs of dogs and abandoned dogs. There are alot of states that have this problem.People should be more scared of these pack of dogs at a bus stop than wolves.There is cause and effect whenever someone,hunter or not ,doesn’t take care their charge.

      1. Rita K.Sharpe Avatar
        Rita K.Sharpe

        Sorry,Barbara for spelling your name wrong.


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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Ralph Maughan