On the heels of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) denial to eliminate the use of Sodium Cyanide in M-44s and Compound 1080 (sodium flouroacetate) in Livestock Protection Collars (LPC) as requested by the WildEarth Guardians, the group is now making an attempt to abolish the entire Wildlife Services (WS) Agency. The activists continue to extol the very allegations, predator control tools being terrorist threats to the security of the United States, that were wholly rejected by the EPA earlier this month.
The group erroneously reported on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) budgets and programs that are responsible for wildlife conflicts involving disease management, protection of lambs and calves and human safety, such as birds at the nation's airports.
"Does it seem odd timing that the animal rights community would call for an end to wildlife management the very same month that bird strikes knocked an airplane out of the air in New York?" posed Glen Fisher, president of the American Sheep Industry Association.
The federally trained professionals and biologists of USDA are, in fact, very important not only to farmers from sheep to crops but ultimately to the U.S. consumers of food and fiber.
USDA has thousands of local, county and state government cooperators along with farm and transportation entities that merge private, state and federal funds to appropriately deal with wildlife conflicts. The agency is the first line of defense in the control of rabies in wildlife in the Northeast. In fact, a third of the entire federal share of the wildlife management budget is for the vaccination of raccoons and coyotes against disease. WS cooperates with local agencies to help control this serious wildlife disease threat to humans and domestic animals.
"Sadly, the animal activists purposely leave out all such information in their communications to the administration and to the U.S. Congress," relayed Peter Orwick, ASI executive director.
Renewed awareness of the important role WS plays in directing birds away from airports was played out when Flight 1549 lost thrust in both engines after striking birds and was forced to set-down in the Hudson River. From 1990 to 2007, there were nearly 80,000 voluntarily reported incidents of birds striking nonmilitary aircraft, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and USDA.
"As livestock producers, we spend millions of dollars to protect our animals against predators, yet we still lose money when sheep and cattle are lost. These kills of young lambs and calves would skyrocket without the protection we have today," stated Fisher. "We all have a responsibility to properly manage wildlife whether it is a private landowner providing forage and habitat to wildlife or land management agencies and state game and fish departments that cooperate in resolving conflicts."
"The animal groups tried to purposely mislead the EPA with dozens of pages of claims against USDA and now it seems that they are earnestly attempting to do the same with the national media and the U.S. Congress," commented Orwick.
More than 100 state and national organizations this week delivered joint letters to U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives appropriations leaders supporting an increase of funding for WS.