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USDA rogue agents killing wildlife

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The Washington Post story is titled, “Petition targets ‘rogue’ killings by Wildlife Service.” There is a picture of a coyote accompanying the story. What is the lead in this story? Well it is the Wildlife Service agents who reportedly employ abusive and sometimes inhumane techniques to kill unwanted ‘critters.’ Their techniques sometimes kill endangered species too.

More Photos

The "politics" of this include:

  • Redundancy among government services
  • Rogue government agents

Being sensitive about the need for government efficiency, and being vigilant about overlapping responsibility, one might question why the Agriculture Department fields wildlife killers.

“The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is a federal government agency within the United States Department of the Interior dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife, and natural habitats. The mission of the agency reads as ‘working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people."”

If someone needs to handle a critter problem, one would think that the Fish and Wildlife Service would be on point, and not Agriculture.

There are many coyotes in the DC Metro, especially along the Potomac River. See the painting that is inspired by walking in the Potomac Overlook Regional Park where these and other critters live.

Arlington County Virginia killed off the beavers in the Ballston beaver pond. Now they are draining the pond to install a new bottom, to fix the leaks. All of the turtles and frogs will die, while the mice will likely find homes in the neighborhood, unless they are taken by hawks and owls. They didn’t need any help from the Fish and Wildlife Service whose headquarters is only a block away.

“Petition targets ‘rogue’ killings by Wildlife Services

View Photo Gallery — Animals taken by Wildlife Services: In 2012, the USDA Wildlife Services reports the number of wild animals terminated, freed, released, relocated or dispersed. Here are the top 10 killed or euthanized.

By Darryl Fears, Published: December 15

They say U.S. critter assassins work in secret, quietly laying traps, lacing food with poison, sniping at targets from helicopters. Few people know exactly how the hits go down; the methods are largely hidden.

What’s certain is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s little-known Wildlife Services program kills up to 3 million animals a year, mostly those deemed a nuisance but also some that agents kill by mistake, including endangered species.

[content omitted]

USDA agents are overstepping their mission of protecting the public and are too secretive, critics say.

Now, in a turnabout, the hunter is the target. A petition seeks to reduce the power of Wildlife Services and shine a light on its practices, claiming its agents have “gone rogue,” overstepping the mission to protect the public by killing indiscriminately.

There’s no dispute that Wildlife Services plays a valuable role by eliminating invasive animals such as nutria and starlings that are a menace. But critics have questions: How many is too many? Does the agency euthanize wildlife too often on behalf of farmers and ranchers without regard to ecosystems?”



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