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Still Time to Comment on Wildlife-Killing Districts

Coyote killing contest near Burns, Oregon. Photo courtesy of Humane Society of the United States

The Oregon Legislature moved to Monday, February 14, a public hearing on a proposal to create special districts to raise money for killing wildlife deemed a threat to private property. If you already submitted written comments on this, thank you! If not, you can still submit comments until 1 p.m. Monday. Go here to submit your comments (select February 14 as the meeting date and HB 4080 as the bill you are commenting on).

House Bill 4080 would allow so-called "predator damage control districts" to collect money from property owners for spending on "predator control." Targeted animals could include "bears, gray wolves, red foxes, gray foxes, coyotes, cougars, bobcats, beavers, fishers, martens, minks, muskrats, otters, raccoons, feral swine * * * rabbits, rodents and birds that are or may be destructive to agricultural crops, products and activities.” There would be no requirement to try nonlethal alternatives - such as fencing, scare devices and guard dogs - before killing the wildlife deemed to be causing a problem.

In practice, the money would go to "Wildlife Services," a federal program known for cruel and unnecessary killing of wildlife. (See Exposed: USDA's Secret War on Wildlife.) In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, Wildlife Services killed 201,606 animals in Oregon, including 210 bears, 2,147 coyotes and 92 mountain lions, using methods including neck and leg snares, cages and foothold traps, aerial gunning and paid hunters.

Legislators should not be approving programs to give more money to Wildlife Services without at least some requirements to consider and use nonlethal alternatives before resorting to kiling wildlife, especially since science increasingly shows that all that killing doesn’t work to reduce problems caused by wildlife and may even make them worse. (E.g., Killing Coyotes Is Not As Effective As Once Thought, Researchers Say, National Public Radio (2019).)

It's best to use your own words in written comments, but you can say something like:

"Please oppose House Bill 4080. This bill would allow special government districts to raise money for killing wildlife only because the animals might damage private property. House Bill 4080 would not require recipients of the money to use or even consider using alternatives that don't require killing the animals. Moreover, the money raised would go to the federal "Wildlife Services" program, which is known for cruel and unnecessary killing of wildlife as its preferred method of dealing with human-wildlife conflicts. Oregon should focus instead on finding peaceful ways to co-exist with wildlife."

To see the written testimony we submitted on behalf of ourselves and coalition partners, click here.

Thank you for helping us advocate for animals!

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