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The HSUS Calls on USDA to Implement Non-Lethal Wildlife Control Policies

Appeal Follows Massive NJ Bird Poisoning Program; Group Offers to Work with Agency to Develop Effective, Humane Wildlife Control Policies

The Humane Society of the United States

Thursday, The Humane Society of the United States issued a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in response to the USDA's Wildlife Services division implementing a cruel poisoning program that killed thousands of starlings in Franklin Township, N.J. The HSUS is urging Vilsack to shift the agency's policies and procedures away from lethal control methods, and instead, focus resources on non-lethal techniques that are not only far more humane, but can be more effective and cost-beneficial to taxpayers.

The birds in Franklin Township were killed with DRC-1339, a slow-acting poison that may take up to three days to kill birds by causing kidney failure.

"It's a new day for our federal agencies, and it's time for USDA to move away from the business-as-usual lethal control that has dominated wildlife conflict policies and procedures," said John W. Grandy, Ph.D., senior vice president, Wildlife and Habitat Protection. "The HSUS' experts in wildlife conflict resolution have worked with communities around the country to develop comprehensive, humane bird management programs that effectively resolve conflicts with starlings and other animals and stand at the ready to work with USDA."

Dispersing birds such as starlings from winter roosts can be very difficult when done late in the winter. New approaches, however, such as the use of lasers and fogging with a chemical repellent that is derived from the same chemical used to flavor grape soda, can be effective when combined with traditional methods that involve other forms of harassment as well as habitat modification.

For more information on humanely solving problems with starlings, click here.


The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org. 

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