We hope that you’ve been reading Tom Knudsen’s enlightening series in the Sacramento Bee over the last days about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Service branch. The focus of this branch has been to kill wild animals that its deems a threat to people, agriculture, and lately — the environment itself. After opening the series with a startling anecdote about the cover-up of a killing of a protected Golden Eagle, Knudsen points to some alarming trends:
Since 2000, its employees have killed nearly a million coyotes, mostly in the West. They have destroyed millions of birds, from nonnative starlings to migratory shorebirds, along with a colorful menagerie of more than 300 other species, including black bears, beavers, porcupines, river otters, mountain lions and wolves.
And in most cases, they have officially revealed little or no detail about where the creatures were killed, or why. But a Bee investigation has found the agency’s practices to be indiscriminate, at odds with science, inhumane and sometimes illegal.