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Petition Seeks to Reform Secretive Federal Agency That Kills Millions of Wild Animals

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned the Obama administration today (see PDF) to reform the federal wildlife-killing agency known as “Wildlife Services,” which kills nearly 1.5 million coyotes, bears, otters, foxes, birds and other animals each year without any requirement to disclose its activities to the public. The secretive killing — which includes aerial gunning, traps and exploding poison caps — has gone on for decades with little public oversight or rules requiring the use of the best available science or techniques to reduce the deaths of nontarget animals.
Today’s petition was filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees Wildlife Services.

“Wildlife Services is an out-of-control, rogue agency that shoots, snares and poisons more than a million native animals every year, many unintentionally — including at least 13 endangered species,” said Amy Atwood, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity and the primary author of the petition. “Despite calls for reform by members of Congress, scientists and the public, Wildlife Services is still operating without the kind of legally binding regulations that ensure transparency and accountability to the taxpaying American public, creating a free-for-all that should have been ended decades ago.”

The petition calls for the agency to:

* Develop regulations to ensure use of the best science when determining whether action should be taken against animals;
* Avoid killing nontarget animals, including endangered species;
* Ensure ethical treatment of targeted animals and exhaustion of nonlethal means; and
* Require release of reliable information to the public about the animals it kills.

A response to the petition is required by law; any decision is subject to review by the courts.
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2013/wildlife-services-11-03-2013.html


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