ASI spearheads support for Wildlife Services
The American Sheep Industry Association for years has led the defense of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Wildlife Services. This year’s letter to the leadership of the Appropriations Committees in the U.S. House of Representatives and United States Senate gained support from a record-setting number of diverse organizations – 204.
“This letter is a powerful tool for ASI members, as well as all of the coalition members, to use this spring defending WS from attacks by animal rights activists,” said Peter Orwick, ASI executive director. “It continues to be relevant as is evident by new organizations joining the effort each year.”
Wildlife causes more than $12.8 billion in damage each year to natural resources, public infrastructures, private property and agriculture. WS works to prevent, minimize or manage this damage and to protect human health and safety from conflicts with wildlife. Wildlife predators cause more than $137 million in death loss to livestock; field crop losses due to wildlife total $619 million annually; losses to vegetables, fruits and nuts total $146 million annually; and 70 percent of catfish farmers incur wildlife-related damage resulting in losses of $10 million to $13 million annually from double-crested cormorants in Mississippi alone. As a result, WS is an essential program in agriculture production in the United States.
In the field of aviation, there were more than 13,650 wildlife collisions with civil aircraft reported in 2015, with an additional 6,300 strikes reported by military aviation. At a time when airports are facing significantly expanded wildlife hazard management requirements, WS role will be even more critical to the aviation community going forward.
Organizations supporting WS come from a broad range of food producers, wildlife organizations, aviation, sportsmen, local governments and resource interests that benefit from the cooperative efforts of the program. The full letter showing all 204 signing organizations can be accessed by clicking on the Wildlife Services link on the home page of http://www.sheepusa.org.
–American Sheep Industry
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