Every year, Wildlife Services, a little known federal agency within the Department of Agriculture, poisons & tortures wolves, bears, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, and other innocent animals including OUR PETS! Wildlife Services prefers two toxins to kill predators: Compound 1080, a rat poison developed by the Nazis during World War II, and sodium cyanide distributed through M44 projectile devices – spring-loaded, baited mechanisms that release poison into the mouth of any animal who disturbs it. 1080 is a poison so lethal a single teaspoon can kill 100 people. Animals exposed to these poisons suffer painful deaths as they experience convulsions, central nervous system failure, cardiac arrest, and suffocation. Because both poisons are indiscriminate, any animal, including dogs and other domestic animals, are sometimes killed by the poisons.
The core purpose of Wildlife Services’ predator control activities is to prevent commercial livestock losses from predation by wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, and other wild carnivores. Working directly with commercial operators and state and local governments, Wildlife Services uses a combination of lethal control methods, like trapping, aerial gunning, poisoning, and denning (killing young in their dens), and some non-lethal control methods.
But driven by narrow agricultural interests, these predator control activities often ignore the greater public need for a healthy environment, fiscal responsibility, and safe public lands, raising some serious questions about how the program is being administered.
Should the focus be on killing predators? The USDA's own statistics show that most livestock losses come from weather, disease, illness, and birthing problems, not predation. Wildlife Services continues to "preventatively" kill more than 100,000 native carnivores each year, even when the effectiveness of such killing is unproven or, worse, counterproductive.
What about unintended consequences? Lethal control methods the program employs have led to dozens of injuries and deaths from aircraft crashes, poisoned pets (and even some people), and the degradation of ecosystems that rely on healthy predator populations to function. Some efforts have even increased the reproduction rates of the same animals they’re attempting to control.
Today, the program spends over $100 million annually to kill more than one million animals.