Should our government be in the business of killing animals? The HSUS is challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program to stop poisoning predators.
In February 2011, Predator Defense (a group working to create alternatives for people to coexist with wildlife) told the story of Bella, the Walker family's dog, who was poisoned by an M-44 sodium cyanide device placed less than 1,000 feet from their house by Wildlife Services in Texas. Nobody—including this federal government agency—told the family about the poison. In fact, Wildlife Services set an M-44 on a roadway this family with two young sons used daily. Even after being notified of Bella’s death, Wildlife Services reset the device twice in the following two weeks.
This incident demonstrates one of many examples of the USDA killing non-target animals.
To address private livestock interests, the USDA has been using two highly controversial poisons, sodium cyanide in M-44 devices and Compound 1080 in livestock protection collars, to kill livestock predators. As a result, many nontarget wild animals such as wolves, bald eagles, and endangered California condors, in addition to pet dogs, have died. Over the past few years, at least half a dozen wolves have been killed by these poisons.
It is time for the USDA to take a hard look at the Wildlife Services program and make critically needed and long-overdue reforms. As a first step, the USDA must step up and end the use of cruel predator poisons, like the one that killed Bella, once and for all.
Learn more here.
Eliminating sodium cyanide and Compound 1080 will help move the Wildlife Services program toward non-lethal predator control methods that are safer, more effective, less expensive, and more humane.