PETITION TARGETS: Wildlife Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack
Native and protected species are among the thousands of animals being viciously caught in steel-jaw leg snares, painfully poisoned to death with cyanide bombs, and inhumanely shot from the sky as part of the federally-sanctioned Wildlife Services program.
The department is a little-known branch of the USDA, with an original mission to “resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.” But in recent years, Wildlife Services has gained a reputation for mercilessly killing about 2 million animals a year — ranging from birds and beavers to bobcats — using poisoning, gassing, shooting, and snaring methods that cause animals unnecessary and unjustifiable pain and suffering.
The agency also is still using deadly M-44 cyanide bombs, whose scented fuses above the ground inspire unsuspecting animals to pull on them — releasing a spray of sodium cyanide into their mouths — despite a companion animal dying and a 14-year-old human being hospitalized with serious injuries by one.
In 2022, the massive death toll included the intentional killing of more than 26,000 beavers, 2,400 foxes, 600 cats, 500 bobcats, 200 gray wolves, seven endangered grizzly bears, and thousands of birds — including red-winged blackbirds, cardinals, sandhill cranes, ducks, Canada geese, red-tailed hawks, meadowlarks, Great Blue herons, swans, and double-breasted cormorants.
But numerous native species also were “unintentionally” massacred — including hundreds of river otters, raccoons, snapping turtles, and gray foxes. Three cats and eight dogs also were killed “unintentionally” by Wildlife Services in 2022, according to the agency’s records.
This cruel and indiscriminate killing must stop. If they knew about them, many taxpayers would not support the government’s use of these violent, painful killing methods — as Lady Freethinker and our supporters most assuredly do not.
Not only is viciously trapping animals in bone-crunching snares and gassing them to death inhumane, but it’s also not good science. Numerous studies have shown that indiscriminately removing predators from ecosystems just doesn’t work. Meanwhile, effective alternatives for minimizing unwanted interactions — including fencing options and light-and-sound activated devices — are available.
Sign our petition urging the USDA and Wildlife Services to prioritize non-lethal management strategies and also to conduct more public education campaigns about coexistence so people can take steps to prevent unwanted interactions.