In December, AWI and its allies petitioned the Obama administration to reform USDA's Wildlife Services program, which kills nearly 1.5 million animals each year without regard for sound science or animal welfare. The notoriously secretive program has long ignored humane and non-lethal wildlife management strategies, using taxpayer funds to kill countless target and non-target species—employing cruel and nonselective tools such as steel-jaw leghold traps and poisons—with little accountability to the public.
Highlighting the many problems plaguing Wildlife Services, the petition requests that USDA establish much-needed, legally binding regulations for the rogue program. In particular, it calls for the agency to (1) develop regulations that will require use of the best available science when deciding whether to take action against animals, (2) protect non-target species, (3) ensure humane treatment of targeted animals, (4) prioritize non-lethal wildlife management options, and (5) require release of reliable information to the public about the animals that Wildlife Services kills.
The administration is legally obligated to respond to the petition, and any decision is subject to review in court. This call for action is an important step in AWI’s efforts to bring an end to Wildlife Services’ inhumane and unnecessary slaughter of our nation’s wildlife.