Lethal wildlife management occurs when entire populations of wild animals are targeted for reduction and systematically “controlled” by legal hunting, culling, poisoning, or other means to bring down population size. Despite claims that they are “science-based,” such practices are highly controversial.
Conflicts with wildlife can range from concerns about deer affecting forest biodiversity to sea lions eating salmon that people want for themselves.
Lethal control raises some of the most challenging ethical questions we can ask about our relationship with the natural world.
Is it "right" to round up and kill geese because they defecate on lawns? Should we kill mountain lions because they eat deer people want to hunt? Is it right to poison ground squirrels because they dig burrows in our parks?
There was a time when such questions would not even have been asked. But today it's time to not only ask the right questions, but find the right solutions.
News & Events
January 2, 2014
The National Park Service will resume using sharpshooters to cull deer at Rock Creek Park. The NPS has not released specific details about the timeline – only that sharpshooters will kill deer at night through the end of March, and that drivers may encounter temporary road closures during that time.
December 20, 2013
“Medicine of the Wolf,” a documentary examining the treatment of America’s gray wolves, has won the eighth annual Animal Content in Entertainment documentary grant offered by The Humane Society of the United States.
September 17, 2013
This session, the California Legislature sent six animal protection bills to Gov. Jerry Brown, four of which he has already signed.
July 26, 2013
Cat advocates and conservationists aren’t known for their collaboration. In Hawaii an HSUS-led coalition has set out to change that—by keeping cats safe and away from threatened and endangered wildlife.
February 14, 2014
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recently seized 2,000 pounds of illegal shark fins from a San Francisco merchant. That merchant is a part of an association whose members sold and distributed shark fins to restaurants and grocery stores and who had sued the State of California challenging the constitutionality of the state’s ban on the sale and trade of shark fins. In the wake of this major bust, the association has voluntarily dismissed its legal challenge.
January 6, 2014
China, the world’s largest market for ivory products, destroyed 6.1 tons of its confiscated stockpile. The momentous event occurred in Guangzhou, a southern port city and main transit and destination point in the global ivory trade.
October 23, 2013
The Los Angeles City Council passed a motion directing the city attorney to draft an ordinance to prohibit the use of bullhooks and other tools to inflict pain for the purpose of training and controlling the behavior of elephants used in circuses and traveling shows to take effect in three years.
September 13, 2013
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service immediately listed the southern white rhino as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, giving the species greater protection from poaching. With two or three rhinos poached every day for their horns, conservationists believe that within a few years’ time, there will be no more rhinos in the wild in Africa.