Disinfecting Wildlife Services

An editorial in Sunday’s Sacramento Bee provided yet another opportunity to use the quote from Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (to which I referred in my inaugural post, and several times since): “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants, electric light the most efficient policeman.”

It seems all the sunlight two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and Bee reporter Tom Knudson shone on USDA’s Wildlife Services with his recent three-part investigative series has prompted further  inquiry—this time by the U.S. Congress. According to The Bee, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) “have said they plan to ask the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to investigate.” [1] Read more

Reform, Retire, or Simply Reload?

Despite the evidence that non-lethal methods can be effective, Wildlife Services continues its killing. Indeed, the greatest change at the agency seems to be its increased interest in targeting “invasive” species with “traditional” techniques.

Preview of Wild Things, produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council, to be released early this summer. (Video not displaying properly? Click here.

Yesterday The Sacramento Bee ran the third and final story in its series investigating Wildlife Services, a little-known (until now) agency under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

In Part 1, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and Bee reporter Tom Knudson focused on Wildlife Services’ controversial practices and secrecy; Part 2 looked at the environmental consequences of the agency’s activities. For Part 3, Knudson spoke with a range of stakeholders demanding changes at Wildlife Services.

“Ideas for reform include more nonlethal control, curtailing aerial gunning, a ban on traps, snares and cyanide poison and pouring more resources into controlling invasive species. Some critics are calling for an investigation of Wildlife Services’ trapping practices and perhaps eliminating the agency altogether.” [1]

Four points stood out for me: Read more