The US killed 200 animals per hour in 2021
The US killed a total of 1.75 million animals last year.
A division of the US Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services, killed more than 1.75 million animals across the nation in 2021.
Conservationists are enraged at the murders, calling them cruel and unnecessary. The killings, according to Wildlife Services, are vital to safeguard agricultural productivity, vulnerable species, and human health.
The 2021 toll includes alligators, armadillos, doves, owls, otters, porcupines, snakes, and turtles. More than a million of the animals killed were European starlings. A lone moose was shot, as was a solitary antelope and, by chance, a bald eagle.
Wildlife Services targets invasive animals that it considers a threat to ecosystems, such as feral pigs and a type of gigantic swamp rat known as nutria, but it also kills a large number of America's native species, which is contentious.
Last year, the agency killed 404,538 native wildlife, including 324 gray wolves, 64,131 coyotes, 433 black bears, 200 mountain lions, 605 bobcats, 3,014 foxes, and 24,687 beavers.
Many animals are killed inadvertently, with 2,746 species, including bears, foxes, and dogs, being destroyed by mistake last year. This is due, in part, to Wildlife Services' employment of leg hold traps, snares, and poisons to target animals. Other methods used by the agency include collecting up and gassing geese and killing coyotes from helicopters or airplanes.
Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity called the program "stomach-turning," adding that "Killing carnivores like wolves and coyotes to supposedly benefit the livestock industry just leads to more conflicts and more killing. This is a truly vicious cycle, and we’ll continue to demand change from Wildlife Services.”
Wildlife Services killed 5 million animals in both 2008 and 2010, and as recently as 2019, it killed roughly 1.3 million native species. Wildlife Services claims its mission is to " resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist and frequently operates at the request of ranchers, state agencies, and airports to exterminate species deemed harmful to the environment, economic activity, or public safety.
However, conservationists have long criticized this technique, claiming that the deaths are indiscriminate and harm America's ecology.
Targeting predators, such as coyotes and bears, can destabilize ecosystems and potentially contribute to the spread of exotic species. Various pieces of legislation have failed to limit Wildlife Services' activities, despite resistance in some states, such as California and Washington.
The most controversial of the methods is the use of M-44 cyanide "bombs" to extinguish some animals.
The devices, touted as an "effective and environmentally sound wildlife damage management tool" by Wildlife Services, are simply canisters placed in landscapes that release a cloud of sodium cyanide when touched by animals. It frequently kills foxes, coyotes, and other targeted animals in five minutes or less.
However, the usage of M-44 canisters sometimes go wrong, such as when pet dogs mistakenly activate them. Canyon Mansfield, 14, was smeared in deadly powder in 2017 after coming into contact with one of the devices while walking his dog Kasey behind his home in Pacatello, Idaho. The event wounded Mansfield and killed his dog, causing environmentalists to demand for a ban on the use of M-44s, which the federal government has so far rejected.
Carson Barylak, campaigns manager at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) stated "M-44 cyanide ejectors jeopardize animals and people alike, and a nationwide ban is long overdue."