Every year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program kills thousands of predators as a taxpayer-funded subsidy to the livestock industry, using controversial and inhumane methods such as poisons and aerial gunning. Wildlife Services largely ignores the many non-lethal ways to prevent conflicts between predators and livestock. In fact, a small, but growing number of ranchers are turning away from Wildlife Services’ “sledgehammer” approach and emphasizing non-lethal conflict-prevention techniques because they recognize that predators are an integral part of the landscapes where they ranch.
Wildlife Services needs to end the use of inhumane, hazardous, and environmentally harmful poisons—specifically, Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide—to kill predators. Instead, the agency should employ non-lethal conflict prevention methods. Specifically, Wildlife Services, and the private parties it assists, should be required to use, or attempt to use, nonlethal deterrence methods before resorting to lethal control.