The battle over predators

Exposing the Big Game

Editorial — Eugene, Oregon paper

A federal judge has delivered a sharp rebuke to a controversial federal agency that planned to increase killing of wolves in Washington state, ordering it to put its plans on hold.

But the court decision does little to deal with ongoing complaints of needless slaughter and cruelty to animals by Wildlife Services employees or to pierce the veil of secrecy surrounding many of the agency’s activities.

Wildlife Services is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which describes it as a “predator damage management program” whose mission is to “provide federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.”

Critics describe it as a secretive, out-of-control agency that kills millions of animals a year, often at the behest of ranchers, without proof that the killing is necessary or useful.

In the last fiscal year, for example, Wildlife Services…

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