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Audit of USDA Wildlife Services Program Doesn’t Address Problems

An audit of the controversial Wildlife Services predator control program failed to provide any recommendations to address a series of documented problems regarding the program’s lack of transparency, overutilization of lethal methods and wasteful spending. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., former Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., and Sen. (then-Rep.) Gary Peters, D-Mich., had questioned the program’s wildlife damage management activities and requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General investigate.

Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife protection for The Humane Society of the United States, said: “In the past decade, the USDA’s Wildlife Services program killed nearly 34 million wild animals, including many unintended targets such as endangered species and pets. The auditors glossed over the extremely cruel methods that federal agents use, such as leaving animals to suffer in snares and traps or from slow-acting poisons. The program spent more than $1 billion from 2004 to 2013, much of it from federal tax dollars, but the auditors did not provide any insight into how that money was spent.

“This audit has completely missed the mark. Concluding that the activities are legal doesn’t mean they aren’t outdated, inhumane, ineffective and a waste of tax dollars. Reform is urgently needed in order to bring Wildlife Services into alignment with mainstream American values that support humane, nonlethal methods for wildlife damage management.”

The Humane Society of the United States released its white paper, “Wildlife Disservice: The USDA Wildlife Services’ inefficient and inhumane wildlife damage management program,” this year and called upon the program to be accountable for its actions and spending.


Media Contacts: Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, stwining@humanesociety.org