In May, animal rights organizations launched a media and internet campaign demanding that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Vilsack end lethal control at the Wildlife Services (WS) agency.
The effort of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Defenders of Wildlife also helped pen a series of articles by the Sacramento Bee criticizing USDA for the conduct of wildlife management.
"The articles are very biased against livestock protection as well as the department quoting outrageous claims," stated Peter Orwick, executive director for the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI).
The reporter of the Bee is quoted by HSUS as criticizing the USDA program by saying "it doesn't even work - it's just a psychological salve for ranchers and other resource users who dislike wildlife and don't want to have to contend with wild creatures."
The articles and the group's websites call for an end of the use of control tools including the M-44 and the livestock protection collar "in spite of the Environmental Protection Agency rejecting their allegations in formal reviews of the tools under both the Bush and Obama Administrations in 2008, 2009 and 2011," added Orwick.
Wild Earth Guardians this month filed a suit against WS asking a federal court in Nevada to halt the program based on National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements.
Orwick stated the program has nearly twenty years of successful NEPA implementation to support its operations.
"ASI, joined by nearly 160 agriculture, local and state government and sportsman organizations, this year relayed support of WS to the U.S. Congress and to USDA. This proved to be important and timely given the attacks initiated this spring by these animal activist groups."
The ASI website, www.sheepusa.org, has useful information for contacting your congressional delegation in support of livestock protection.