Exposed: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife
“Shoot. Shut up. And Shovel.” This has been the motto of the federal government’s Wildlife Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) most mismanaged and unaccountable agency. The agency was originally established to resolve wildlife interactions that threaten public health and safety, but it has since evolved to exclusively protecting the value of U.S. agriculture—namely ranchers and farmers raising free-range livestock. Wildlife Service’s sole purpose today is to make U.S. ranchers and sport hunters happy, by killing millions of predator and non-predator wildlife—every year—that share the land with livestock and deer and elk.
Exposed: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife reveals the truth about this completely unmanaged, unregulated, unaccountable government agency that is mandated to act for public safety, but instead, has run amuck–supporting and colluding with animal agriculture interests and the hunting lobby to trap, poison, maim, and virtually annihilate predator (and non-predator) wildlife on both federally owned and privately owned land. The documentary portrays how the agency is completely out of control, answers to no one, and deliberately ignores and evades all Congressional inquiry. The agency’s detractors agree—Wildlife Services needs to be shut down, and is well beyond reform.
This award-winning 30-minute short film features three former Wildlife Services federal agents and a Congressman blowing the whistle on the rogue Wildlife Services department—exposing the federal government’s covert war on wildlife all at taxpayer’s expense.
The documentary shows bald eagles being poisoned in Wyoming, and coyotes and wolves being poisoned by the thousands—all leading to the Wildlife Services. There’s the use of tons of banned, illegal and toxic poisons that are being sold to farmers and ranchers by Wildlife Services to kill whatever they want. “It’s virtually a big ‘drug’ operation.” Gary Strader, former Wildlife Services trapper says, “Government employees shouldn’t be breaking the law on the job, and the federal government should not be in the business of predator control on taxpayer dollars.” Rex Shaddox, Former Wildlife Services trapper and special investigator for the Wyoming Sting operation says Wildlife Services is “Using poisons that have been banned since the 1970s, and the official record said didn’t exist, were being bought from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture to sell to ranchers and predator boards.” These poisons and toxins are destroying the land, poisoning our rivers, streams, lakes and water systems, killing pet dogs and cats, and killing multitudes of non-target animals.
The national nonprofit organizations Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Humane Society of the United States and many others argue that Wildlife Services is not justified in killing millions of predators and other animals each year given the total lack of evidence that these animals pose any threat to the public. These groups also claim the killing is conducted on behalf of the livestock industry rather than public safety and has resulted in the destruction, decimation and near-extinction of countless species.
National statistics report that only 5 percent of livestock losses are due to predator killings, but 95 percent of livestock loss is due to farmer’s negligence. But this statistic is completely ignored by Wildlife Services and ranchers and farmers. Instead, our federal government agencies are supporting the hunting lobby and Big Ag with killing contests created to hunt and kill as many predators as possible—coyotes, wolves and cougars. Tax-payer dollars are financing the aerial gunning of wolves and coyotes in states across the U.S. Where we should be protecting native predators and wildlife, our government, ranchers and hunters are exterminating our wildlife by conducting a virtual war on our wildlife—all at tax-payers expense. In addition, our federal government through the USDA and Wildlife Services are propagating the numbers of “prey” populations like deer and elk, so that sport hunters who pay for hunting licenses, will have more to prey to kill and state public departments will earn higher revenues from hunting licenses. The government is ignoring the fact that predator animals are critical to a healthy and natural ecosystem—and instead they are actually threatening public health and safety by poisoning our land and water, brutalizing countless pets, ravaging our wildlife that belongs to the land, and wasting tax-payers money—and getting away with it.
Learn more about Wildlife Services secret war on wildlife by visiting Predator Defense.
Film Length: 31:13 Minutes
Originally Released: 2013
- Official Selection 2015, Best Short – Animal Film Festival, Grass Valley, California
- Official Selection 2014, Best Wildlife Activism – Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, New York
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Read More About Wildlife Services
Washington Post – USDA’s Wildlife Services Kills 4 Million Animals in 2013
Psychology Today – Murder Incorporated: Wildlife Services Under Public Scrutiny
New York Times – Agriculture’s Misnamed Agency
The Sacramento Bee – The Killing Agency: Wildlife Services’ Brutal Methods Leave a Trail of Animal Death
The Sacramento Bee – Wildlife Services’ Deadly Force Opens Pandora’s Box of Environmental Problems
The Sacramento Bee – Suggestions in Changing Wildlife Services Range From New Practices to Outright Bans
Humane Society of the United States – 2015 Whitepaper on Wildlife Services, Wildlife Disservice: The USDA Wildlife Services’ Inefficient and Inhumane Wildlife Damage Management Program
Reveal – the Center for Investigative Reporting – There’s a Reason You’ve Never Heard of This Wildlife Killing Agency