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October 18, 2009

Humanely Reducing Agricultural Damage by Wildlife

Non-lethal methods are more effective than shooting and trapping when reducing wildlife damage

The Humane Society of the United States

Wild animals are sometimes very good at doing exactly what we don't want them to do: They might eat the most valuable vegetables in your organic garden, harass and eat your outdoor poultry and livestock, and get into your stored livestock feed.

This can be frustrating for people who are directly and financially harmed by wildlife damage, such as farmers. But wild animals are struggling for survival too, so it's understandable that they have become so good at exploiting an abundant food source, even if it happens to be your property.

Finding a way to effectively exclude wildlife—and to humanely "reeducate" those that get past your defenses—can provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are protecting your property, crops, and livestock while minimizing your impact on wildlife. Humane, non-lethal methods of reducing wildlife damage are not only good for the welfare and conservation of wildlife but are also often more effective than shooting or trapping so-called nuisance wildlife. When wildlife populations are robust, killing a few individuals usually just allows others to move into a vacated territory. This can result in a vicious cycle whereby wild animals continue to cause damage and landowners continue killing those animals without reducing damage.

Our Wild Neighbors section offers many solutions to conflicts with wildlife. We know that no single solution will work in every situation, and we certainly don't claim to have all the answers. As we learn more from researchers and farmers about effective non-lethal methods to reduce wildlife conflicts, we will update these pages, adding new species, conflicts, and humane solutions.

If you don't see a solution to your current problem, please e-mail us with your question, and we'll do our best to find a non-lethal solution. If you try one of our methods, please let us know whether it works for you.

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