Petition Seeks Regs to Rein in Wildlife Services

AWI and allies submitted a petition for rulemaking to the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in November urging the agency to adopt regulations governing its Wildlife Services program to improve the welfare of wildlife, promote coexistence, and reduce ecological harm.

photo by Adam Jones/Danita Delimont
photo by Adam Jones/Danita Delimont

Wildlife Services traps, snares, poisons, and shoots millions of animals every year, primarily on behalf of the animal agriculture industry and pro-hunting interests. Between 2010 and 2022, the program killed more than 37.4 million animals, including coyotes, foxes, mountain lions, beavers, and many species of birds. Wildlife Services also unintentionally kills nontarget animals, including companion animals and imperiled species such as eagles, falcons, condors, wolves, and grizzly bears. The program’s lethal methods cause immense suffering, fundamentally alter ecosystems, and do little to resolve conflicts. 

The petition requests that Wildlife Services be required to use nonlethal methods to manage human-wildlife conflicts; phase out particularly inhumane killing methods such as neck snares, steel-jaw leghold traps, M-44 cyanide bombs, and aerial gunning; cease operations in wilderness areas; and discontinue the use of toxic lead ammunition. The petition also requests clear standards to ensure Wildlife Services treats animals humanely and operates with greater transparency and accountability to the public.

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