Tag Archives: animals

Want your tax dollars spent to kill 2.7 million wild animals again this year?

refugeweek97-with TrumanNew data from the highly secretive arm of the U.S. Agriculture Department known as Wildlife Services reveals it killed more than 2.7 million animals during fiscal year 2014, including wolves, coyotes, bears, mountain lions, beavers, foxes, eagles and other animals deemed pests by powerful agricultural, livestock and other special interests.

Despite increasing calls for reform after the program killed more than 4 million animals in 2013, the latest kill report indicates the reckless slaughter of wildlife continues, including 322 gray wolves, 61,702 coyotes, 580 black bears, 305 mountain lions, 796 bobcats, 454 river otters, 2,930 foxes, three bald eagles, five golden eagles and 22,496 beavers. The program also killed 15,698 black-tailed prairie dogs and destroyed more than 33,309 of their dens.

“It’s sickening to see these staggering numbers and to know that so many of these animals were cut down by aerial snipers, deadly poisons and traps,” said Amy Atwood, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These acts of brutality are carried out every day, robbing our landscapes of bears, wolves, coyotes and other animals that deserve far better. Wildlife Services does its dirty work far from public view and clearly has no interest in cleaning up its act.”

Agency insiders have revealed that the agency kills many more animals than it reports.

Many animals – especially wolves, coyotes and prairie dogs – were targeted and killed on behalf of livestock grazers or other powerful agricultural interests. Wildlife Services does not reveal how many animals were wounded or injured, but not killed.

The new data also show that hundreds animals were killed unintentionally including 390 river otters, as well as hundreds of badgers, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, jackrabbits, muskrats, raccoons, skunks, opossums, porcupines and 16 pet dogs.

The data show that the federal program has refused to substantially slow its killing despite a growing public outcry, an ongoing investigation by the Agriculture Department’s inspector general, and calls for reform by scientists, members of Congress and nongovernmental organizations.

“Wildlife Services continues to thumb its nose at the growing number of Americans demanding an end to business as usual,” said Atwood. “This appalling and completely unnecessary extermination of American wildlife must stop.”

Just since 1996 Wildlife Services has shot, poisoned and strangled by snare more than 27 million native animals.

Recently Discussed at Green Drinks 3

Discussed at Hackensack and Paterson/Clifton Green Drinks in the past week:

President Obama is postponing pushing for large scale environmental legislation until after the 2012 election. Decision on the XL Pipeline is one of the projects being put on his agenda for 2013, and particulate matter in our air (affects air quality) is another issue being postponed to receive attention that year. While environmentalists are understandably disappointed that issues of concern are being tabled instead of dealt with decisively right now, I think that Obama’s very wise to not push for changes in these areas right now. That might give big business and the politicians and media outlets they own, enough fuel to engulf our president in a storm of controversy which could easily distract voters from the most important task facing us this year: re-electing the president. Obama might not be perfect, but on a bad day he’s worlds better for average North Americans, and environmental protection, than any Republican is going to be, for the simple reason that Republicans support big business and the 1% – the guys who got us into this environmental mess. We’d have to be nuts to count on them to get us out of it.

Of course, we talked about the two major recent wins in the environmental world which everyone in New Jersey is happy about this week: postponement on voting to approve the Keystone Tar Sands XL Pipeline (for which Green Drinks co-host Sally Gallert was arrested in DC for protesting against). AND the postponement of @ivanwei‘s Fair Lawn Green Team committee for making Fair Lawn a healthier, more sustainable town by improving access for bikers and walkers. Ivan and Sacha are both bikers, and Ivan bikes as his primary mode of transportation. With @kimiwei‘s help the team of three has decided that our first task is working on establishing a safe, direct route from the Bergen County Bike Path to Bergen Community College. Currently, the bike path runs through Fair Lawn to within 1/4 mile of Bergen Community College but does not feature a safe route directly onto college grounds. To get to the college, bikers must emerge from Dunkerhook County Park, cross heavily trafficked Paramus Road without the benefit of any signs advising traffic to slow down or watch out for biking (or walking) traffic and then make their way on a narrow strip of pavement adjacent to the east side of the road. Because a librarian died traveling home from BCC on Paramus Road, we know that it’s a dangerous place for bikers.

Biking and walking are healthy activities which progressive health officials like Carol Wagner, Health Department Director, wants to encourage in the town of Fair Lawn. These activities also impact the environment by reducing vehicles miles travelled – a provision called for in the visioning statement of Bergen County’s master plan, and also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That’s an issue on so many people’s minds these days now that mainstream resources such as the climate change study funded by the Koch brothers and NASA’s Climate Change education initiative reveal that climate change is a real concern and the temperature really is rising around the globe.

By the way, take a look at this kicking climate change video produced by (you really won’t believe this when you see how good it is) NASA. For a full screen version (but no lyrics showing) watch it on YouTube

Naturally, we discussed #OWS @occupywallstreet. What progressives aren’t talking about this movement?

It isn’t well known that in the field of Sustainability, social justice is as important a concern as environmental justice. Events led to our discussion touching on prisoner re-entry for a while: a young man of color approached our table towards the end of the night saying he had just been let out of the county jail and needed money to get to Morristown. I explained to him that I’m not in the habit of giving money to people but I could offer him a meal, if he wanted one, and a ride to Morristown if he could wait 15 minutes until our gathering wrapped up. The young man politely declined the meal, and decided to move on after asking a second time for cash and hearing my offer of a ride repeated. We wondered what help inmates are given to get on with their lives, and at least reach a destination of choice, when they leave the penal system and are released from jail. I’m checking into this question – if you have tips or info, please share.

At Green Drinks Hackensack last week on 11/14 we were joined by a fellow couchsurfer, Joanneh, and a couple of her family members, one of whom – Michael Hakim – is a well-known landscape architect and environmental professional. Ivan and I promote Green Drinks in the Couchsurfing community and were delighted to have couchsurfing friends join us.

Clifton/Paterson has been the slowest group out of the three we run, to establish, but it seems to be picking up impetus. Our little group talked about The Sultan food as well, but that part of the conversation lasted only as long as the food – which is to say, not long at all. Like Thanksgiving birds, we gobbled it all up and, it was great!