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Wildlife Services Trapper Allows Animal Torture

Federal employee allows dogs to savagely attack a trapped coyote and more ...

Wildlife Services, a branch of the USDA, is constantly being criticized for the wanton slaughter and abuse of millions of animals every single year

A summary of some of Wildlife Services egregious activities include, but is not limited to, the following:

With steel traps, wire snares and poison, agency employees have accidentally killed more than 50,000 animals since 2000 that were not problems, including federally protected golden and bald eagles; more than 1,100 dogs, including family pets; and several species considered rare or imperiled by wildlife biologists.

A growing body of science has found the agency's war against predators, waged to protect livestock and big game, is altering ecosystems in ways that diminish biodiversity, degrade habitat and invite disease.

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In all, more than 150 species have been killed by mistake by Wildlife Services traps, snares and cyanide poison since 2000, records show. A list could fill a field guide. Here are some examples: Armadillos, badgers, great-horned owls, hog-nosed skunks, javelina, pronghorn antelope, porcupines, great blue herons, ruddy ducks, snapping turtles, turkey vultures, long-tailed weasels, marmots, mourning doves, red-tailed hawks, sandhill cranes and ringtails.

The body count includes more than 25,000 red and gray foxes, 10,700 bobcats, 2,800 black bears, 2,300 timber wolves and 2,100 mountain lions. But the vast majority—about 512,500—were coyotes.

Aerial gunning is the agency's most popular predator-killing tool. Since 2001, more than 340,000 coyotes have been gunned down from planes and helicopters across 16 Western states, including California—an average of 600 a week, agency records show.

Between 2004 and 2010, Wildlife Services killed over 22.5 million animals to protect agribusiness. The agency spends $100 million each year, and Wildlife Services' job is to "eradicate" and "bring down" wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, bears, prairie dogs, and other wild animals.

In 2010, Wildlife Services killed 5 million animals (this number does not include the thousands birds the Service has since admitted to poisoning in 2010), including 112,781 mammalian carnivores such as coyotes, wolves, bobcats, cougars, badgers and bears.

New evidence of reprehensible animal abuse: What follows is not easy reading

And, just this week, we've learned that an employee of Wildlife Services, Jamie Olson, who works as a trapper in Wyoming, has been caught, and is being held responsible for, promoting extreme acts of cruelty and torture. A summary of these heinous acts can be found here. The photos on Mr. Olson's Facebook page and elsewhere include: " ...two dogs savagely attacking a coyote in a leg-hold trap and the employee posing with the tattered carcass of a coyote. They also show other trapped animals – dead and alive. ... [another] shows the trapper's brownish-black Airedale approaching a coyote in a leg-hold trap, unable to defend itself. The coyote is snarling and trying to pull away. A caption says: 'My Airedale Bear with a sheep killing female.' ... Another photo on Twitter showed a partly disemboweled coyote on a log. The caption reads: 'Eagles got to this adult female before I did.'"

This sort of abuse is "very common"

Is this sort of abuse rare? No, according to a former Wildlife Services trapper. "Gary Strader, a former Wildlife Services trapper in Nevada, was not surprised to learn about the controversial photos. 'That is very common,' Strader wrote in an email. 'It always was and always will be controversial. It has never been addressed by the higher-ups. They know it happens on a regular basis.'"

I'm sorry to post this story but it's essential to get the word out about these sorts of heinous activities. And, more important, you can do something about these thoroughly repugnant and unacceptable behaviors that uses our tax dollars.

Please contact Mr. Rod Krischke, State Director, Wyoming Wildlife Services, P.O. Box 67, Casper, Wyoming 82602; Rodney.F.Krischke@aphis.usda.gov; William Clay, Deputy Administrator for Wildlife Services; Bill.Clay@aphis.usda.gov; Jeffrey S. Green, Western Regional Director for Wildlife Services; jeffrey.s.green@usda.gov; and Congressman Peter DeFazio at https://forms.house.gov/defazio/IMA/contact.html and Congressman John Campbell at http://campbell.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1023&Itemid=35.

You can send a personal note to your Congressperson from this link asking her or him to call for a Congressional hearing into animal torture by a federal wildlife official.

Cruelty can't stand the spotlight and these heinous activities must be stopped now. 

Note: I've just learned that Mr. Olson is also involved in what's called The Montana Coyote Classic, a coyote killing contest, but apparently he has cancelled it due to "lack of interest due to the election."

Please click here for a summary of the incredible lives and importance of coyotes. 

 

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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