Advocates for the West Issues Notice of Intent to Sue to Wildlife Services
8th of Sep 2014
On September 8, 2014, Advocates for the West filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program over its large-scale, often secretive killing of wild animals in Idaho, on behalf of four conservation organizations. The program kills millions of animals nationwide every year, and in 2013 killed more than 3,000 mammals in Idaho alone via aerial gunning, neck snares, foothold traps, and toxic devices known as M-44s that spray sodium cyanide into the victim’s mouth, causing tremendous suffering and releasing toxic chemicals into the environment.
“We look forward to holding Wildlife Services accountable for its wildlife-killing activities in Idaho,” said Kristin Ruether, Advocates for the West Staff Attorney.
The lawsuit will challenge Wildlife Services’ renewal of its efforts in Idaho to eradicate coyotes, black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, foxes and other important carnivores from the landscape for the benefit of private livestock and agricultural interests. Wildlife Services also plans to remove dozens of beaver dams using explosives that will harm bull trout, a protected species. The program admits that its trapping activities will harm threatened grizzly bears and Canada lynx. Trapping also targets fishers, which are in rapid decline in the Northern Rocky Mountains due to a vast increase in trapping activities in Idaho. Conservation groups have petitioned to protect the fisher under the Endangered Species Act.
Wildlife Services has come under increasing criticism for the sheer number of animals that it kills and injures, (including many nontarget animals), the ineffectiveness of its methods, its cruel and inhumane tactics, and its antiquated attitude about carnivores, which scientists demonstrate are critically important to maintaining intact ecosystems in the western United States. Beavers similarly play a key role in healthy ecosystems and are critical to successful climate adaptation. New research demonstrates the essential role beavers play by stabilizing streams, slowing snowmelt runoff, and improving fish habitat, among other benefits.
Wildlife Services has never conducted either an analysis of the statewide environmental impacts of its activities or of the impact of beaver dam destruction.
ID Wildlife Services NOI Letter (9-8-14)
Advocates for the West thanks its clients on this case:
Western Watersheds Project
Center for Biological Diversity
Friends of the Clearwater