Monday, June 16, 2014

The federal agency that kills wildlife, no questions asked

This just in from PEER (Public Employees for 'Environmental Responsibility):
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, whereWildlife Services dispenses “Animal Health” in the same way Genghis Khan spread “Villager Health.” 
Last year, 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.
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:
  • Cormorant Control.  To benefit catfish farmers, FWS is renewing “Depredation Orders” to kill double-crested cormorants for eating fish – their natural diet – in 23 Eastern states.  These orders result in elimination of more than 50,000 cormorants a year by conservative estimates. These orders are so open-ended that the entire population of these cormorants may be “culled” in some states.
Meanwhile in the West, Wildlife Services is behind a scheme to convert into killing platforms the tunnels and blinds used for decades by researchers on Oregon’s Sand Island to study the West’s biggest pelagic bird rookery.  The plan is for Wildlife Service teams armed with sniper rifles, silencers and night vision goggles to shoot 20,000 double-crested cormorants at short range as mating begins.
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
Jeff Ruch
Executive Director

P.S. Politicians love a win-win but these scenarios are often too good to be true.  In the world of toxic waste, a win-win is returning a highly contaminated site to reuse at little cost.In New Jersey, this practice is called “pave-and-wave.” A classic example is Gov. Christie’splan to convert a particularly nasty old landfill into a solar plant – a plan rooted in eco-fantasy and an unraveling cover-up.
P.P.S.  After the standoff between Cliven Bundy and his band of well-armed but unbalanced militia, rangers inside the BLM had a lot of questions about how this operation was planned and even what it was supposed to accomplish.  When we asked BLM, it refused to answer, so we will have to drag those answers out in federal court.
P.P.P.S. Follow breaking developments on Twitter and Facebook

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