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Conservation Groups Ask Secretary Vilsack to Stop Government Killing of Wolf Pups

For immediate release August 4, 2021

Media contacts:

Suzanne Stone, International Wildlife Coexistence Network (208)489-5587

Talasi Brooks, Western Watersheds Project (208)336-9077

Gary Macfarlane, Friends of the Clearwater (208)882-9755

Jim Dutcher, Living with Wolves (208) 726-3802

Brooks Fahy, Predator Defense (541) 520-6003

Recently Obtained Records Indicate Weeks-old Pups Killed At Den Sites In Idaho

BOISE, Ida. – Conservation groups today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Secretary Tom Vilsack to immediately suspend the practice by the USDA’s Wildlife Services of slaughtering weeks-old wolf pups on public lands. Newly-received public records confirm accounts that Wildlife Services is now killing wolf pups to protect domestic livestock.

“We’re calling on Secretary Vilsack to use his authority to set some limits on the agencies within his department,” said Suzanne Asha Stone, director of the International Wildlife Coexistence Network. “It’s unconscionable and unscientific to permit the cruel and senseless killing of these young pups. It’s time as a society to eliminate these inhumane practices and commit to coexisting with wolves and all our native wildlife coexistence on our public lands.”

“It’s wrong that Wildlife Services kills wolves at all to support public lands livestock grazing, which is already heavily subsidized by taxpayers,” said Talasi Brooks, of Western Watersheds Project. “But it’s utterly appalling that they kill pups like this.”

“The pup killing by Wildlife Services reveals a lot about the agency,” said Gary Macfarlane of Friends of the Clearwater. “The picture it paints makes Dorian Gray look like a saint.”

“Killing wolf pups as a matter of policy is morally and ethically reprehensible,” said Jim Dutcher, president of Living with Wolves. “Wildlife management has reached a grim new low in Idaho.”

“Idaho has become the poster child for animal cruelty through their pathological destruction of wolves, which we now learn includes innocent, defenseless wolf pups,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense. “But I find it hard to believe that most Idahoans would approve of this indefensible carnage being carried out on behalf of zealots in the ranching community.  They are also conveniently ignoring the scientific reality–that wolves cause a mere fraction of one percent of livestock losses.”

Wildlife Services kills wolves for the sake of the livestock industry, and these deaths are in addition to the deaths caused by hunters and trappers. Idaho’s new and draconian anti-wolf laws are designed to bring the wolf population down by 90 percent to 150 wolves.

Over 70 conservation groups recently petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list western wolves under the Endangered Species Act, which would preclude this kind of government killing and remove the threat of reckless state management. Lawsuits to overturn the national wolf delisting from last year are also still making their way through the courts, and groups are asking Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to relist the species.

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