Wildlife Services protects ag and natural resources
In an email received this week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Wildlife Service Agency, it was stated, “Recently, several news outlets have highlighted a university study that calls into question the validity of USDA-APHIS-WS predation damage management and research, particularly the program’s use of lethal methods. On Sept. 18, The New York Times posted an article highlighting the study and criticizing the program’s work to protect agriculture and natural resources from wildlife damage.
“WS would like to set the record straight and provide our stakeholders with additional information that was left out of The New York Times article by the author, as well as our response to The New York Times editor before it was shortened by the paper. We take these criticisms seriously and believe the public has the right to know the complete story. As we mention in the letter, Wildlife Services welcomes open, complete and contextually accurate discussion of best management practices in its efforts to provide responsible wildlife damage management.”
In the Letter to the Editor of The New York Times, APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea states, “In his article America’s Wildlife Body Count, Richard Conniff did not include information provided by WS that puts management action in perspective. In 2015, Wildlife Services removed 3.2 million wild animals, of which 1.5 million were invasive and injurious species, such as feral swine and European starlings. Conniff also failed to mention that WS non-lethal actions comprised the majority of WS damage management efforts with more than 21 million animals being dispersed in 2015.
“An objective critique of the science underlying wildlife management is welcomed; however, Conniff’s opinion piece did not fulfill that goal. While disappointed in these efforts, WS welcomes open, complete and contextually accurate discussion of best management practices in its efforts to provide responsible wildlife damage management,” continued Shea.
To view the original article, as well as the edited and posted version of Administrator Shea’s letter by The New York Times, go to the American Sheep Industry Associations website F
–American Sheep Industry