Group urges calls now to defund Wildlife Services

Politicians scramble to find cuts. Now said to be chance to gut widely reviled program-

Using federal dollars to kill our native wildlife. Economic hard times would say stop that kind of funding. But will it be stopped? Predator Defense knows these federal poisoners and gunners have nine lives, unlike the bobcats and cougar they kill. Predator Defense just issued a news release asking for citizen efforts immediately to shut down USDA’s Wildlife Services’ “livestock protection” program. They want Americans to contact their U.S. Representative now.

– – – – – –

News release.
Help Us Cut Federal Funding for the Senseless Killing of Wildlife

It’s time for the federal government to stop funding the extermination of tens of thousands of animals every year at the behest of agribusiness. Ask your representative to vote for an amendment that would slash funding for Wildlife Services’ “livestock protection” program, which spends millions of taxpayer dollars every year to subsidize the killing of bears, mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, wolves and other wild predators.

Wildlife Services, a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, responds directly to livestock growers who want wild carnivores like coyotes, foxes, and mountain lions killed. This federal government agency kills tens of thousands of these animals each year under its “livestock protection” program simply because private livestock growers ask them to. The animals are caught in traps and snares, shot from helicopters, poisoned with cyanide and other deadly toxins, and pups and cubs may be killed in their dens.

In addition to its cost and cruelty, the Wildlife Service’s livestock protection program harms the environment by removing large numbers of ecologically important predators from the landscape. And some methods, such as the use of poison traps, put not only wild animals but people and pets at risk of accidental poisoning. See CNN interview at . Further, Wildlife Services fails to provide needed incentives for livestock operators to prevent and address conflicts with predators.

Reps. John Campbell of California and Peter DeFazio of Oregon are offering an amendment to this year’s federal Agriculture Department spending bill that would cut federal funding for Wildlife Services to kill wild carnivores to benefit private livestock operations. Please urge your representative to vote for the Campell-Defazio Wildlife Services amendment. This vote could take place as soon as Tuesday, June 14, so please act now!


All U.S Representatives

Call your representative today!

U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202- 224-3121 and ask for your Representative’s office. If you do not know who your representative is just give your zip code to the operator and you’ll be transferred to your Congressman’s office

Email letters and talking points to your Representatives

Dear Representative,

At a time when Congress is looking for smart ways to cut federal spending, I urge you to support cutting federal funding for USDA’s Wildlife Services’ “livestock protection” program. Please support the Campbell-DeFazio amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill to cut this private interest subsidy by $11 million in FY2012.

In 2009, Wildlife Services spent $23 million on programs serving livestock growers and other private agricultural operations, including the livestock protection program. Many of these programs emphasize lethal control, killing animals at taxpayer expense rather than focusing on effective, preventative non-lethal methods for managing wildlife conflicts. Wildlife Services’ lethal control methods include shooting, poisoning, trapping, killing young animals in their dens, and even aerial gunning from aircraft.

Federal tax dollars should not be spent killing wild predators to benefit private business. I urge you to support cutting federal funding for Wildlife Services’ livestock protection program in FY2012 and to vote for the Campbell-DeFazio amendment.

Brooks Fahy
Executive Director

541-937-4261 Office
541-520-6003 Cell



, ,



  1. timz Avatar

    Sorry, but dialing Simpson or Labradoodle to back this would be a waste of finger strength.

    1. Maska Avatar

      Ditto for Rep. Steve Pearce, alas.

      1. william huard Avatar
        william huard

        I see Teabag Martinez is siding with the loons in Catron County in her attempt to undermine the wolf recovery effort. People need to call her on this. There were 9 depredations (which probably means half that were legitimate)in all NM and AZ due to the efforts of the NM Dept of Fish and Game helping this situation. How does pulling the plug on state help help either the wolves or ranchers? These people are disgusting. They will now start screaming for more wolf killing if there are any depredations….. And they wonder why people hate their guts

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan


    You’re right about Idaho’s two. I’ve followed Simpson long enough to know he knows it is crap, but crap he thinks keeps him in office. He does not want to go back to filling teeth.

    The Honorable Mr. Labrador (sounds funny that they call each other names like that), I dunno what he thinks . . . tea bag stuff. Government details don’t interest them.

    1. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      Labrador speaks what ever way the wind is blowing on any given day

  3. ma'iingan Avatar

    I work for a wildlife agency in the Great Lakes region, and we have a much different perception of WS here. Although there’s a lot of agriculture in the region, the prevailing attitude is not nearly as anti-predator as the West. Our WS agents are the first to suggest changes in animal husbandry, fladry, and other non-lethal techniques to minimize conflicts with wildlife. And I don’t think poisoning has ever been part of their toolbox in the GLR. From my perspective, defunding the program would create serious problems in this part of the country – the Wolf Damage Abatement funding for the GLR has already been done away with in the Federal budget, so now if you’re a livestock producer and have suspected wolf depredation, you can no longer count on a WS agent responding within a few hours – you’ll now have to wait for an untrained state biologist to show up, hopefully within a week after the event. I fear the result will be even more vigilante killing and indiscriminate poisoning.

    1. Nancy Avatar

      You make a good point Ma’iingan. Maybe each state’s agency needs to be looked at in terms of financial waste and the random killing of wildlife to satisfy a few.

  4. Immer Treue Avatar
    Immer Treue

    I 2nd your comment. WS is not as heavy handed in the GL states. When one considers the number of wolves here, though the situation is far frOm Rosie, it is workable

  5. jon Avatar

    Has any congressmen or women try to go after wildlife service’s funding in the past before these 2 guys, campbell and defazio? people like Cynthia lummis and Denny rehberg who have no problem going after the eaja, but where are there on wildlife service’s funding? oh that’s right, they’re both ranchers. This will be a great victory if we can defund wildlife services somewhat. I see a lot of websites talking about defunding wildlife services. The message is getting out there and that is wildlife services needs to vanish for good.

  6. ma'iingan Avatar

    “The message is getting out there and that is wildlife services needs to vanish for good.”

    To be replaced by what? I think that’s a short-sighted comment. WS performs a lot of services that I daresay you know nothing about. For instance, the National Wildlife Research Center is one of the chief resources we use in identifying wolf hybrids, and their database of wolf haplotypes is readily available for researchers.
    In the Great Lakes Region the various crop damage mediation programs they operate are responsible for saving millions of dollars in damages – not to mention runway safety, rabies abatement, and many others. Who is going to take over those programs?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      I think USDA Wildlife Services does do some good works such as attacking the feral hogs that are becoming such a problem.

      Perhaps the best amendment would be to merely defund their aerial gunning budget and get rid of certain poisons like 1080 and m44 cyanide baits (there are more. Unfortunately such a specific amendment seems impossible with our Congress that thinks a sledgehammer is a carefully calibrated tool.

      1. ma'iingan Avatar

        Agreed, Ralph – those two techniques are responsible for a great deal of the negativity towards WS, and neither are employed in the GLR. So there would be no net loss of the worthwhile programs that WS administers. I work with WS agents in my region on an almost daily basis, and they are far from the “wanton killers” that some attribute them to be. I had a good conversation with my state’s WS Director, and he believes that the dichotomy between his agents and those who work in the western states is solely due to the prevailing culture of the constituency they serve. The West has always had the overarching drive to clear the range of predators by any means available.

        1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
          Ralph Maughan

          I was thinking the same thing this morning. The Western agents have been the tail, or whatever, wagging the dog for over 50 years (referring to the previous versions of this agency).

          1. SEAK Mossback Avatar
            SEAK Mossback

            We have a federal wildlife services agent here. I believe most of his salary is actually being paid by the city (airport), contracting with the feds to keep waterfowl and other birds out of the flight path of aircraft (unfortunately with very little flat terrain to choose from, our airport was built bordering on a major wetlands right in the middle of town and of course has a floatplane pond running parallel to the runway). I believe all or nearly all of what he does to keep birds away from approach and departure paths is quite localized and non-lethal . . . Duck and goose hunting is allowed over nearly all of the wetlands including right around the airport, and another of his duties is to sample hunter-killed birds for the Asian bird flu, which has not been found so far . . . .

          2. SEAK Mossback Avatar
            SEAK Mossback

            He must be fairly effective, as I have heard of no bird strikes here in years. The closest call was a departing Alaska Airlines jet flying right under a bald eagle — scared the bird so bad it dropped its fish (pollock) which splattered on the windshield.

          3. WM Avatar

            Having done some airport consulting very early on in my career, it became apparent that airports, often initially constructed over 60-80 years ago utilized wetlands. This is because they were relatively flat, inexpensive and often in wide valleys or adjacent to waterbodies which gave aircraft additional unobstructed approach or takeoff corridors for some distance. All the airport sponsor had to do was haul in a little fill, compact it and pave over what used to be prime wildlife habitat.

            Larger airport properties, often fenced off, and ground vegetation controlled gave birds good nesting/resting/feeding areas, with long views of sight to watch for predators. Grasshoppers also seem to like these areas. Predators also think these are great places to hunt the birds who think they are safe, but not.

            There will always be a need for professional assistance at or near airports where bird strikes are a huge public safety concern. Ever see an aircraft manufacturer’s “chicken gun” at work? Frozen chickens are shot out of a pneumatic cannon into the turbine of fired up jet engines or windshields.

            Now, if you are a small prop plane like a Cessna 172, or DeHavilland Beaver you might not be so lucky. Pick the feathers out of your teeth and try to land the plane with your one good eye that wasn’t speared by a goose wing bone.

          4. SEAK Mossback Avatar
            SEAK Mossback

            WM –
            While we’ve been fortunate in Juneau, there have been recent bird strikes elsewhere in the region. Regarding your description of taking a bird in a Cessna 172, a Piper Cherokee took a duck through the windshield and into the back of the front passenger seat coming out of Hoonah. Fortunately, for some reason the only passenger had opted to sit in a back seat.

            A year or two ago, an eagle played serious chicken with an Alaska airlines jet accellerating on take-off down the short Sitka runway (with ocean on both ends). The bird came straight at the plane head-on for some distance down the runway and dove right into one of the engines, wrecking it. The pilot managed to stop just short of the ocean. He said it had all the appearances of a suicide, but I suspect it was just a sick bird . . . .

        2. JB Avatar

          These are important points–especially the point about what replaces wildlife services if it goes. Privatize WS and you will lose oversight, reporting, FOIA, etc.; and animals will still be killed (probably less humanely).

          In addition to removing birds from around airports, Wildlife Services does a lot of zoonotic disease research, and helps control the spread of these diseases as well. For example, here in Ohio they have been vaccinating mesopredators in order to prevent the spread of rabies and in Michigan, they have been helping farmers fence feed to reduce the spread of bovine TB to white-tailed deer.

          I think people would do well to be specific and advocate for what they really want (i.e., defund programs designed to kill predators, INCREASE funding for non-lethal methods). In other words: don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

          1. WM Avatar

            ++…..don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.++

            Yep. There is something to be said about living with the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.

            WS administered and monitored poisioning (not a practice most of us approve), will likely be replaced with more self-help and homemade recipes that may be worse and less selective for intended target species and individuals of a species. The issues of predator control will see less light of day, and maybe even be replaced with paid for services from the private sector, who use even less humane practices (count on that one).

            I kind of think there would be alot of investigations that won’t be done, or conducted even more sloppily than some here have already suggested. Data will not be aggregated and trends of concern (even ESA related) may not be discovered until it is too late.

            Going after WS with a broadaxe, when a scalpal is the better tool is not very smart, or politically expedient IMHO.

            It is interesting that WWP’s own Katie Fite (presuming this is not common name) is a board member of Predator Defense, which appears to be one of those 501(c)3’s that consists of a couple of “sort of” staffers and a computer, out of Oregon.

            It would appear advocacy groups are taking lessons from the corporate business world, with use of interlocking directorates to accomplish objectives.

  7. ma'iingan Avatar

    “I kind of think there would be alot of investigations that won’t be done, or conducted even more sloppily than some here have already suggested.”

    Our regional WS agents skin every carcass involved in alleged wolf depredations – it’s their SOP. They’re really skilled at interpreting bite patterns to determine what predator killed the animal, or if it died from other causes and was scavenged after death. As you can imagine, this activity can be really unpleasant. And I can assure you it won’t happen when state biologists are called out to investigate – they’re actually going to be far more likely to rubber-stamp “wolf kill” than the WS agents have been.

  8. Jack Avatar

    Wildlife Services is a waste of federal tax money. As other federal agencies have been cut this agency has grown and prospered over the years. They are in direct competition with the private sector. Someone mentioned that if wildlife control was privatized it would remove experience and oversite…HA! Private companies like the one I co-own have more experience than the just out of college techs this agency hires oh and by the way I need to carry a hefty insurance policy to do what I do yet the feds don’t need to have that. So, if I screw up, I am accountable and the client has recourse. If the feds screw up (which I think we can all agree they do!) what recourse does one have?? In Canada wildlife control work is 100% privatized and always has been and all is going well there. So, how about getting rid of this agency and letting the private companies grow and prosper instead of letting the government get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger……

  9. Florence Avatar

    If you really want to know the truth about the over inflated Wildlife Services Program then check out this website:


Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan