Militarization of Wildlife Management

Wildlife management in the U.S. has increasingly centered on eradicating critters deemed troublesome.  At the apex of this mortality industrial complex is the ironically named Wildlife Services. It is an arm of USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, where Wildlife Services dispenses “Animal Health” in the same way Genghis Khan spread “Villager Health.”

In 2013, Wildlife Services dispatched 4 million birds, bobcats, beavers, coyotes and other wildlife. That jaw-dropping number is not even a record – it killed 5 million in 2008.

Wildlife Services acts with almost no environmental oversight, functioning as a backdoor subsidy to agriculture and aquiculture industries to kill any wildlife labeled a nuisance.  It also poses a danger to its own staff, where aerial gunning accidents are virtually an annual occurrence. Moreover, its reliance on powerful poisons presents a public health risk that persists even into our current era of Homeland Security.

Uncertain DeliveryWind and other
factors make aerial application an inherently
imprecise and unreliable means of distributing
potent poisons which are supposed to be
pinpointed at infestation sources. 

Distressingly, Wildlife Service’s reach is growing.  It appears to be influencing Interior’s Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to increasingly employ mass wildlife eradication in the name of conservation. Here are two examples:

  • Aerial Poisoning of Island Refuges.  FWS is pursuing massive aerial drops of broad-spectrum second generation anticoagulants such as brodificoum to control rodents on island refuges. Despite the fact that this tactic kills countless non-target wildlife and does not even eliminate the rodent population, FWS is plowing ahead with more aerial bombardment schemes –operated by pilots from (guess where?) Wildlife Services.


PEER has been contacted for help by horrified scientists and even FWS retirees distressed that this agency chartered to protect wildlife now routinely eschews effective non-lethal strategies to embrace slaughter under the guise of wildlife management.  Help us wrest conservation from the hands of the exterminators.