Exposed: Human-Animal Interactions and the War on Wildlife

A new documentary on the USDA's secret war on wildlife is a must see

Posted Dec 02, 2013

Following a recent essay in Time magazine titled "America's Pest Problem: It's Time to Cull the Herd" (for discussion please see "Redecorating Nature: Have We Really Killed Pests Too Rarely?") a new documentary called "EXPOSED: USDA's Secret War on Wildlife" has coincidentally just been released. The secret war on wildlife refers to, and results from, the USDA's Wildlife Services' wanton assault on all species of nonhuman animals (animals). In EXPOSED, three former federal agents and a Congressman blow the whistle on the Wildlife Services' program and expose the government’s secret war on wildlife for what it really is, a repugnant, uncontrolled, and brutal attack on a plethora of different species. 

The description of this landmark film and the praise it has already generated can all be seen at the website of Predator Defense. I believe EXPOSED is one of the most disturbing videos I have ever seen. Wildlife Services could easily be called Murder, Inc. Their horrific, intentional and secret slaughter of millions of animals in the name of "coexistence" is appalling. They need to be put out of business.

Renowned author and filmmaker Doug Peacock writes, "The USDA Wildlife Service is among the most unaccountable and clandestine of taxpayer-supported programs in America. Their mission is to kill native predators, as secretly as possibly, with zeal unparalleled in brutality and cruelty. Thus, this is a story best told from the inside. EXPOSED...has cracked Wildlife Services’ impenetrability by interviewing three highly articulate former federal agents who tell their inside stories with a clarity I’ve quite never seen before. We need to understand how this agency works so we can shut it down. The courage of these three former agents and an outspoken congressman make this goal a tangible possibility."

“Wildlife Services is one of the most opaque and least accountable agencies I know of"

Concern about Wildlife Services' killing ways also comes from Peter DeFazio, the senior U. S. Congressman (D) from Oregon, who notes in his interview for EXPOSED, “Wildlife Services is one of the most opaque and least accountable agencies I know of. It is not capable of reforming itself. They need a mandate for reform ... it’s going to have to be imposed on them."

Our relationships with animals we call "pests" needs more detailed study by anthrozoologists

The importance of "EXPOSED" cannot be overstated. The study of human-animal relationships—the field of anthrozoology—is rapidly growing and what with Wildlife Services' carte blanche willingness and ability to mercilessly slaughter wildlife and a recent declaration that we need to kill urban "pests", we need to come to terms with how we deal with animals who we call "pests." There are many research projects just waiting to be done. 

Of course, the use of the word "pests" is incredibly problematic and prejudicial, and all too easily sets the stage for the wanton and brutal killing of these animals despite the lack of any evidence this heinous slaughter really works, whatever "works" means. The unrelenting killing does work to employ people who brutally harm and slaughter other animals, but with the appearance of EXPOSED we can only hope that Wildlife Services will be put to rest once and for all. They are a disgrace and a blight on humanity. 

Marc Bekoff's latest books are Jasper's story: Saving moon bears (with Jill Robinson; see also), Ignoring nature no more: The case for compassionate conservation (see also)and Why dogs hump and bees get depressed (see also).

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