Is there a “culture” within the USDA Wildlife Services–in particular its lethal predator control program.
These images found on Facebook–evidence of clearly sick behavior–began to circulate on the Internet on October 30, 2012, after being spotted by an environmentalist.
The photos were posted by Jamie P. Olson, who works as a trapper for an agency called Wyoming Wildlife Services, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service whose job includes controlling nuisance predators. They clearly show that Olson loosed his dogs on a coyote while it was in the trap and took photos as they tore the animal apart. It is unclear if the photos show a single coyote or if two coyotes are pictured. Nevertheless, the result is the same.
The photos led Rep. John Campbell of California to call the actions “flat-out animal cruelty,” and accuse the agency of “stonewalling” attempts to investigate allegations of animal abuse. Campbell said the photos are indicative of widespread problems within the little-known agency–ranging from possible misuse of taxpayer money to alleged animal abuse of predatory and non-predatory wildlife.
A similar act of appalling insensitivity happened only last month (see ANIMAL POST November 14—“Trophy Animal”) when U.S. Forest Service Employee Josh Bransford in Idaho snapped before and after trophy photos of a wolf caught in a leg snare.
“We believe there’s kind of a pattern here that this has become almost sport to put out these traps,” Campbell said . “We think there are a lot of non-lethal ways to protect livestock. But instead, they use these leg holds, which are extremely cruel. The animal takes a long time to die.”
Campbell also said he has “increasing evidence” of taxpayer money being used for “private purposes,” including protecting the livestock of private ranchers. “I have cattle myself,” he said. “I don’t think it’s the taxpayer’s responsibility to protect my cattle. That’s my responsibility.”
Source: Wild Earth Guardians.