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Investigation Reveals USDA’s Toll on Wildlife

Millions of innocent animals found to be inadvertently killed by the federal government’s Wildlife Services.

The Sacramento Bee conducted an investigation on the collateral damage done to wild animal populations at the hands of the US Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services. The federal agency’s mission is to protect the livestock and game species by eliminating animals that may pose a threat, but it has inadvertently killed millions of non-threatening animals from more than 300 different species, ranging from beavers to mountain lions to bears and an assortment of birds. One USDA employee recounted an incident to the Bee in which he found a federally-protected golden eagle suffocated in a snare, and was instructed to secretly dispose of the bird. The source also notes that since 1987, nearly 20 people have exposed to the Wildlife Services’ spring-loaded cyanide traps, while the agency’s aerial gunning operations have caused 10 human casualties since 1979.

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