washington d.c.—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program reported last week that it shot, trapped, and poisoned more than 400,000 native animals in 2021. The death toll included more than 64,000 coyotes, 24,000 beavers, 3,000 foxes and hundreds of gray wolves, black bears, cougars and badgers, among many other species.
The wildlife services are tasked with responding to human-wildlife conflict, but its use of tools such as steel jaw traps, Conibear body grab traps, neck snares and M- 44 Cyanide devices are cruel and inherently indiscriminate. The newly released figures are consistent with the 2020 program mortality statistics and include more than 2,500 animals that were unintentionally killed, such as black bears, mountain lions, coyotes, porcupines, raccoons, anglers , pronghorns, bighorn sheep and eagles.
Additionally, beaver traps and snares have accidentally killed otters, turtles and herons. These collateral deaths, along with the preventable killing of the beavers themselves, are among the reasons the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is urging the creation of a federal grant program to help landowners, governments local and federal and state wildlife agencies to pay for the use of non-lethal measures to prevent human-beaver conflict. AWI has also long supported Beaver Institute, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that educates the public about how beavers benefit ecosystems, works with landowners and local governments to implement preventative measures such as flow devices, and trains professionals wildlife, including federal employees, on how to properly install and maintain these devices.
the Animal Welfare Institute (awionline.org) is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing human-caused animal suffering. The AWI engages policy makers, scientists, industry and the public to achieve better treatment for animals everywhere, in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home and in the wild. follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and instagram for updates and other important animal welfare news.