Friday, October 14, 2016

Federal agency that killed 3.2 million animals last year reaches settlement with animal rights group

In 2015 Wildlife Services killed 380 gray
wolves (National Geographic photo)
A little known federal agency that kills about 4,000 animals per day, many of them invasive species, has reached a settlement with an animal rights group that "might one day dramatically lower these numbers," Darryl Fears reports for The Washington Post.

The agency, Wildlife Services, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, last year killed 3.2 million animals and has killed 35 million over the past 10 years, Fears writes. Conservationist claimed that the agency was not just killing invasive species, but also "native animals such as beavers, bears, wolves, bobcats, alligators, prairie dogs, otters and owls."

Animal rights group WildEarth Guardians filed a lawsuit against Wildlife Services arguing that the science "in the analysis used by Wildlife Services, which often kills animals such as coyotes and weasels at the request of farmers and ranchers, is 80 years old and does not reflect how foresters and biologists view wilderness today," Fears writes.

The settlement, reached in a Nevada federal court, will lead to Wildlife Services updating its policies, a move that could take two years, Fears writes."Until the new analysis is drafted, debated in public forms and finalized, Wildlife Services will not operate in 6 million acres of Nevada wilderness—remote areas where no roads exist."

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