Even as some federal agencies spend millions to protect wildlife, another federal agency spends millions more to kill wildlife in record numbers. The federal government destroyed 2.7 million wild animals in 2016 one animal every 12 seconds because they were deemed a nuisance to ranchers, farmers, or municipalities.
All this carnage is the work of Wildlife Services, a euphemistically titled branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The method employed by Wildlife Services to kill more than 90% of the animals is poison, with agents ranging from strychnine to sodium cyanide. Widespread poison application often kills non-target species; for example, toxins used to eradicate starlings in cattle feedlots also kill owls, hawks, raccoons and domestic cats. It also places humans and pets at risk. Other methods include aerial gunning, denning (killing animals in their dens), and traps. The environmental effects of Wildlife Services are widespread and negative.
Although most of Wildlife Services work is done for the livestock industry, government figures show that wildlife plays an insignificant role in livestock losses. The program is an unjustified subsidy to industry. wasteful slaughter of wildlife and shift Wildlife Services to entirely nonlethal, humane, effective, and efficient methods of managing wildlife-human conflict.
Most of the public has no idea that a significant portion of the federal wildlife management budget is actually devoted to extermination. Given all of our unmet social and infrastructure needs, the federal government should not be spending $100 million a year slaughtering wildlife.