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The USDA Killed 820 Egrets and 115 Ibises In One Year With Your Tax Dollars

By       Message Martha Rosenberg       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   7 comments

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Many think of the USDA as a kind of FDA for farm products--ensuring product safety. Actually the USDA uses our tax dollars for the following disturbing practices to benefit private industry.

1. Eradicating "Pests" For Private Ranchers

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Remember Cliven Bundy, the "welfare" rancher who provoked a showdown with the government in 2014 over his many years of grazing his cattle at taxpayer expense? (And whose sons were jailed for a similar standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon this year?) Well, free grazing on the public dime is the least of government largesse to private ranchers.

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With traps, snares, poisons, gas, and aerial gunning the USDA's Wildlife Services has killed more than 34 million animals in the last decade to protect the livestock operations of private meat producers according to official records. The take in 2015 alone included 68,905 coyotes 731 bobcats, 480 bears, 385 wolves and 284 mountain lions.

"Although livestock damage is a valid concern," says Predator Defense, "animals are also killed for eating flowers and pet food, digging in gardens, frightening people, and other concerns that could easily be addressed by nonviolent methods." According to the Sacramento Bee, one "tool" used by the Wildlife Service is "spring-loaded metal cylinders that are baited with scent and fire sodium cyanide powder into the mouth of whatever tugs on them." Nice.

Nor are the Wildlife Services' tax-payer financed killings for private meat producers even effective says a recent article in the National Geographic, citing a study in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment that found there's little scientific evidence that killing predators actually accomplishes the goal of protecting livestock.

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Our Tax Dollars Are Used to Kill Birds Like This Cattle Egret
(Image by Martha Rosenberg)
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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)

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