U.S. HOUSE OF REPS. CUTS RANCHER WELFARE
"The sun is setting on the days of government handouts to western ranchers," said Courtney Cuff, Green Scissors Campaign Director at Friends of the Earth. "Cutting the Wildlife Services budget saves taxpayer dollars and will put a halt to indiscriminate killing of wildlife."
The Wildlife Services Program (formerly known as the Animal Damage Control Program) was created in 1931 and has evolved with little Congressional oversight or public accountability. Currently, Wildlife Services spends more than half its budget on predator control programs. Ranchers in the 17 Western states receive more than 96 percent of these funds, but the same ranchers pay less than one percent towards the costs of running the program.
The Green Scissors Campaign, a coalition of taxpayer and environmental groups, made cutting the Wildlife Services' western predator control program a top priority in 1998. Environmentalists argue the agency uses indiscriminate lethal methods and lacks accountability. Taxpayers argue that the program is an unnecessary subsidy to the livestock industry. Serious questions have been raised about the effectiveness of the program. Between 1983 and 1993, funding for ADC's livestock programs increased more than 70 percent while the number of predators killed increased 30 percent. However, livestock losses during the same time period did not decrease.
"We commend the House of Representatives for voting to rein in the Wildlife Services predator control activities. The program hurts wildlife and costs taxpayers millions of dollars," said Cuff.
Friends of the Earth is a non-profit environmental policy organization with affiliates in 58 countries. The Green Scissors Campaign is led by Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and U.S. Public Interest Research Group. To see the Green Scissors '98 report, go to http://www.foe.org/eco/scissors98