Wildlife Services 2021 Report Reveals Millions of Animal Deaths
Once again, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report detailing the monumental and tragic loss of animal lives it was responsible for in the last year. In its annual report for 2021, Wildlife Services admits that it intentionally killed approximately 1.76 million animals and accidentally killed another 2,746 native animals using $86.8 million in taxpayer dollars. We object to this colossal travesty and are especially concerned since there are approved non-lethal methods to resolve most of the damage claims made against wild animals.
Animals of all shapes and sizes from lizards to bison were on the government’s hit list for 2021. Birds and pigs were targeted in the highest numbers: 1,028,650 European starlings and 143,905 wild pigs perished. Hundreds of thousands of starlings who ate poisoned eggs laced with DRC-1339 returned to their roosts, suffered from kidney failure, and died slow painful deaths. Thousands of wild pig families were captured in live traps to meet their cruel fates later or gunned down from helicopters.
Animals are brutally killed in shockingly barbaric ways for exhibiting natural behaviors like gathering, eating, and pooping. 15,730 beavers swam through submerged traps that gripped and crushed their entire bodies. 6,653 coyotes stepped on triggers that sent M-44 cyanide capsules into their faces causing chemical asphyxiation and blocking the use of oxygen in their blood. 1,500 prairie dogs died from exposure to phosphine gas, which burned their skin, eyes, mouths, and lungs. 1,390 mourning doves were shot with air pressure guns or BB guns.
Other painful killing methods included: neck-breaking, lethal gas, neck snares, foothold traps, and poisoning with Compound 1080 Livestock Protection Collars, which induce cardiac and respiratory failure when punctured by a predator.
Iconic animals like mountain lions and wolves and black bears were killed without mercy. Even fish were targeted. Over 75,000 native Northern pikeminnow were killed to allegedly protect salmon and steelhead trout in the Pacific Northwest so that humans can eat them instead, and when human consumption is overwhelmingly to blame for their endangered status in the first place. More than 26,000 Canada geese were massacred with guns, rocket nets, drive traps, and air pressure guns despite non-lethal methods like habitat modification and changes in human behavior being more effective ways to reduce conflicts.
We recommend this critique of the report by Merritt Clifton who challenged the USDA’s claim that killings reduce predation of farmed animals, “Yet, of the 1.76 million animals killed by the agency in 2021, only 4%––63,965 coyotes and about 3,000 other animals––could reasonably be considered livestock predators.”
We mourn the lives of the 1.76 million animals who suffered and died needless deaths at the hands of Wildlife Services, the rogue mercenary branch of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) from armadillos to red foxes to iguanas to red-winged blackbirds. Our National Goose Protection Coalition is working to stop goose-killing contracts nationwide.
Please support our efforts to end wildlife-killing contracts with the USDA’s Wildlife Services by making a donation today!