Contract killing & Taxpayer waste
Wildlife Services wasted $124 million in taxpayer dollars to massacre 1.76 million animals in 2021. 400,000 of those animals were native.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) Wildlife Services is tasked with addressing and resolving conflicts with wild animals that cause economic harm or threaten human or animal health and safety. However, throughout its history, Wildlife Services has resorted to lethal management at nearly every turn. In its early days, massive poisoning campaigns aimed at all predatory species constituted a literal war on wildlife from which this country and its environment are still recovering. According to our colleagues at the Humane Society of the United States, these campaigns killed millions of target and non-target animals, including endangered and threatened species, as well as cats, dogs, and other domestic animals. Today’s Wildlife Services program continues to kill in the millions, sadly reflecting an organizational culture that continues to embrace lethal control as a primary practice in resolving human-wildlife conflicts.
Scape-goosing Human-Caused pollution
Wildlife Services kills pets
‘Opportunity’ on the Hudson
On January 15, 2009, birds took the blame for bringing down the jetliner that “Sully” Sullenberger landed on the Hudson, and USDA Wildlife Services has used the opportunity to kill more than 100,000 of them near—and as you’ll see below, far away from—New York airports ever since.
Despite LaGuardia and Newark airports contracting with the USDA to massacre birds near the airports in the wake of the “Miracle on the Hudson”, the number of recorded bird strikes involving those airports has nearly doubled in the years that followed. Swans, blackbirds, crows, starlings, and even “federally-protected” Snowy owls have been added to Wildlife Service’s hit-list since.
In 2020, Wildlife Services’ carelessness resulted in the massacre of 86 geese and baby goslings at Milburn Pond Park under the pretense of “flight safety,” despite the park being more than 11 miles from the nearest airport. Following inquiries by the South Shore Audubon Society and a vigil by Humane Long Island, the agency admitted to rounding up the geese and their babies during their molting season—when the birds lose their flight feathers and are most helpless—and apologized for its “error.”
Hitmen for Animal Agriculture
Killing with Cloak & Dagger
Lack of Transparency
Add bit about private exterminators
Circumventing the law
poisoning the underprivileged
Killing wildlife is a proven public relations nightmare, so in an attempt to sanitize wildlife massacres, public officials will often announce a plan to launder the meat by donating it to low-income communities. Since massacres are ostensibly ordered on the grounds that animals must be killed because they are somehow starving, sickly, or spreading disease, this charade is not only patronizing but exposes a major crack in the facade of why these massacres are being ordered in the first place.
Legitimate hunger relief organizations—including the NYC Coalition for the Homeless and Long Island’s Community Solidarity—have spoken out against these carcass donations due to the threat of contaminants. In fact, these donations are often accompanied by a label cautioning that it should not be consumed more than once in a month. In Westchester, this warning has come along with a second: that the meat might contain bird-shot—a type of shotgun shell.