USDA’s Wildlife Services Sued Again: Enviro Orgs Ask Court to Halt Wildlife-Killing Program in Idaho

(EnviroNews Nature) — Four conservation groups filed a lawsuit on May 11, 2017, aimed at stopping the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from killing Idaho’s wild animals. The USDA’s Wildlife Services (WS) program killed more than 280,000 mammals and birds in Idaho during 2016. The animals axed include 3,860 coyotes and 72 gray wolves, along with cougars, black bears, feral dogs and more than 273,000 European starlings.

Plaintiffs in the suit include the Western Watersheds Project, WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity (the Center) and Predator Defense. The suit alleges that the USDA has never prepared a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“Most people in Idaho would be shocked to learn how many animals Wildlife Services already kills in our state,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a Senior Attorney at the Center. “Now this reckless agency wants to slaughter even more of our black bears, mountain lions, coyotes, ravens, and other wildlife using nightmarish methods like poisons and aerial gunning, without even studying the environmental consequences. Such a lackadaisical approach to wildlife management is not permitted by the law.”

Wildlife Services, an arm of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), is described on the agency’s website as a program to “help people resolve wildlife damage to a wide variety of resources and to reduce threats to human health and safety.” APHIS received $1.1 billion in federal funding for fiscal year 2017.

Conservationists contend that Wildlife Services operates primarily for the benefit of ranchers. The program was the subject of a 2016 exposé in Harper’s Magazine. In a related interview with National Geographic, the author, Christopher Ketcham said, “Since its founding in 1885, Wildlife Services has served one purpose—to clean up the American West for the ranching industry, so they wouldn’t have to deal with predators or other animals they deemed pests.”

EnviroNews has previously reported that, nationwide, WS slaughtered 2.7 million wild animals in 2016. “Wildlife Services is stuck in the barbarism of the 19th century, before the full value of predators in ecosystems was understood,” said Erik Molvar, executive director of Western Watersheds Project.

The USDA’s obscure, century-old wildlife-killing program traps and poisons these great many animals. It swoops in to shoot them from the air using both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Both neck and foot snares are used — methods considered inhumane by many prominent animal rights advocates. It kills coyotes with controversial M-44 cyanide bombs.

In what might be called “collateral damage,” reports of pets being killed are not uncommon. In March, 2017, a cyanide bomb left by Wildlife Services in Pocatello, Idaho killed a dog and poisoned its owner, a 14-year old boy. Between 1985 and 1993, 21 people in Arizona were injured by M-44s. A Utah man was left permanently injured and unable to work after being poisoned by one of the dangerous devices.

“It isn’t just wildlife that is directly harmed by the killing programs,” said Brooks Fahy, Executive Director of Predator Defense, in the press release. “These lethal weapons pose a risk to recreational users of public lands, their pets and the ‘nontarget’ species that die by the hundreds every year.”

WS is also the subject of a documentary called, “EXPOSED: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife,” produced by Predator Defense. In the film, Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) said, “Wildlife Services is one of the most opaque and least accountable agencies I know of.” In March, DeFazio introduced legislation to outlaw use of M-44 cyanide bombs for predator control.

“Wildlife Services needs to be accountable to the public for the harm their actions cause to Idaho’s natural ecosystems,” said Kelly Nokes, Carnivore Advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “Not only are Wildlife Services’ killing schemes cruel and unnecessary, the best available science is clear that they are largely ineffective too. It is past time that Wildlife Services’ needless killing regime is documented in a complete environmental review so that the public can fully realize how their tax dollars are being wasted.”

OTHER GREAT ENVIRONEWS REPORTS ON WILDLIFE SERVICES AND IMPERILED WILDLIFE

USDA Caves to Public Pressure, Agrees to Remove All Coyote/Wolf Cyanide Bombs in Idaho

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BREAKING: Wildlife Groups Sue Trump Admin. Over USDA’s Poisoning of Endangered Species, Kids, Pets

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Rep. Peter DeFazio is out to Stop USDA’s Cruel Wolf and Coyote Poison Bombs for Good

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20 Environmental Groups Jointly Demand Wildlife Services Ban M-44 Cyanide Bombs in Idaho

(EnviroNews Idaho) – On March 28, 2017, a coalition of wildlife and conservation groups petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services (WS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to immediately ban M-44 devices in Idaho. M-44s are cyanide bombs used by WS to kill…

USDA’s ‘Cruel,’ ‘Illegal’ Cyanide Bombs for Wolves and Coyotes Killing Dogs, Hospitalizing Kids

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Bill Allowing Slaughter of Alaskan Bear Cubs, Wolf Pups, Sails Through Senate to Trump’s Desk

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Predator Bloodbath: ‘Secretive’ Federal Agency Wildlife Services Kills 1.6 Million Native Animals in 2016

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‘Secret’ Federal Agency Admits Killing 3.2 Million Wild Animals in U.S. Last Year Alone

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – Washington D.C. – The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services (WS) admitted in its annual Program Data Report to having killed at least 3.2 million wild animals in 2015 alone – many of which were large predators. 1,681,283 of that total…

Lions and Tigers and… Sage Grouse? Oh My! – The Granddaddy Endangered Species Battle of Them All

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Wyoming Wolves Stripped of Endangered Species Act Protection – Shoot-on-Sight Policy Restored

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Republicans Lick Chops While Revving Up To Dismantle The Endangered Species Act

(EnviroNews Nature) – Washington D.C. – On Feb. 15, 2017, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) held a hearing called, “Oversight: Modernization of the Endangered Species Act.” Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Chairman of the EPW, held this two-hour hearing to explore “the need to modernize…

300 NGO and Environmental Orgs Demand via Joint Letter Ntl. Guvs Assoc. Protect Endangered Species Act

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WildEarth Guardians Sues Colorado over Plan to Kill Black Bears, Mountain Lions

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Report: 86% of North America’s Bird Species Struggling or in Crisis – 33% Facing Extinction

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POLL CLOSED: Should USDA’s Secretive Wildlife Killing Program Be Abolished? Yes/No – VIEW RESULTS

(EnviroNews Polls) – 3.2 million animals. That is the amount of critters and creatures brutally eradicated by Wildlife Services (WS) in America last year alone, by way of traps, snares, bullets and poisons – all with your tax dollars of course (at least if you are a U.S….

Five Environmental Groups Sue USDA Over Idaho Wolf-Killing Program

(EnviroNews Idaho) – Boise, Idaho – On June 1, 2016, five prominent environmental organizations filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services for killing over 650 wolves in the state of Idaho over the past decade. Wildlife Services is…

Federal Government Sued For Killing Wolves in Oregon

(EnviroNews Oregon) – Five environmental groups filed a lawsuit on February 3, 2016, in U.S. District Court against the federal agency Wildlife Services, over what they say is the illegitimate killing of wolves in the state of Oregon. WildEarth Guardians, Center for Biological Diversity, Predator Defense, and Project…

Federal Judge Orders Stop to Canadian Lynx Trapping in Idaho

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Poll Closed: Should U.S. Government Maintain a Wolf-Killing Program? Yes or No? – View Results

(EnviroNews Polls) – In December of 2015, several environmental groups, spearheaded by WildEarth Guardians, won a pivotal lawsuit against Wildlife Services, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agency, for its wolf-killing program in Washington State. On February 3, 2016, WildEarth Guardians, in concert with four other groups, filed…

No Endangered Species Act Protection for Sonoran Desert Tortoise, Interior Announces

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POLL: Should Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Be Delisted, Hunted and Killed? Yes/No? (Feds Say Yes)

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Will Redrawing Core Sage Grouse Areas in Wyoming Help Save the Bird From Extinction?

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Dept. of Interior: No Protection for Greater Sage Grouse Under Endangered Species Act

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Sec. Sally Jewell Announces DOI Will Not List Bi-State Sage Grouse as Endangered

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WA State Stops Bloodshed After Massacring Profanity Peak Wolf Pack To Appease Cattle Ranchers

(EnviroNews Washington) – Olympia, Washington – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced October 19, 2016, that it would spare the remaining four members of the now demolished Profanity Peak Wolf Pack, after already having killed seven of its wolves (Canis lupus) to appease cattle ranchers….

WildEarth Guardians: DOI’s Bi-State Sage Grouse ‘Conservation Success’ Is ‘Window Dressing’

(EnviroNews Wyoming) – Douglas, Wyoming – On April 21, 2015 Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI) Sally Jewell appeared in Reno, Nevada to make a pivotal Bi-State Sage Grouse Announcement: No protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the bi-state distinct population of the greater…