Wildlife Services (formerly Animal Damage Control) is an infamous program currently administered under the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). While this program certainly conducts some actions which are broadly to the benefit of society, a good portion of their actions are directed at a scientifically indefensible program to control predators, mainly at the behest of western livestock interests.
Although Wildlife Services’ predator control programs have been roundly criticized and the culture of the program staff disparaged over the course of decades, leadership within the program has resisted change and adoption of current understanding of predator-prey relationships or the impact of their control actions on the social structure or behavior of predators. Many have made the claim that their actions are doing more harm than good and at great taxpayer expense.
Cascadia Wildlands has a long history of trying to block Wildlife Services actions in Oregon and Washington as well as being supportive of national-level efforts to bring reform to this rogue program. We believe this reform work is extremely important but also understand that Wildlife Services is buried deep within the federal bureaucracy and the program has powerful friends.
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