Exposing APHIS

Exposing APHIS

Friends of Animals’ Wildlife Law Program

Mission to Expose the Brutality of the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)


Housed deep within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an agency shrouded in myths. Myths that in protecting human interests, animal interests must be harmed. Myths that animal health, cognition, and point of view must be compromised in order for people to co-exist with wildlife. Myths that non-lethal methods of animal control do not, in fact, cause harm to wildlife.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) oddly named Wildlife Services (WS) operates in every US state. APHIS’s mission is to “provide Federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.” However, in reality, APHIS wields its power to harm sensitive wildlife populations.

Killing an animal is pretty straightforward, cowardly act to perform. APHIS killed over 4.3 million animals in 2013. APHIS also obliterated over 50,000 dens and burrows that serve as the home base for a number of species. APHIS dispersed another 17.8 million animals using a variety of harassment techniques meant to traumatize the animals in question. By using tools such as firearms, pyrotechnics, dogs, whistlers/screamers, vehicles, paint balls, and bombs (just to name a few), APHIS intentionally and aggressively compromised animal wellbeing. By contrast, APHIS freed a mere 30,000 animals, but not before using painful traps and snares to capture the animals in question.

As you can see in the chart below, this disturbing trend of violent action against wildlife has been the status quo for years.

When given the choice, APHIS carried out a greater number of lethal actions, than non-lethal actions, for a variety of non-invasive species including Grey/Timber Wolves, Mountain Lions, Deer Mice, Long Tailed Shrikes, and Red Foxes.


The chart below shows a startling comparison of the number of intentional killing, unintentional killing, and non-lethal methods used by APHIS to control these five species.

Friends of Animals is committed to exposing APHIS as a killing machine—a group of bureaucrats that place the interest of big agriculture, ranchers, and other commercial entities above the wellbeing of animals and the ecosystem we co-exist in together.  It is our new mission to enforce legal requirements that APHIS provide a meaningful basis for concluding that the wildlife at issue creates a significant impact on human health, safety, or the economy. In addition, we intend to press for changes in the law that require APHIS and other agencies to include ethical considerations making decisions that impact wildlife. It is time for APHIS to come around to what animal activists already know–that animals do, in fact, have a point of view and cognition of what is happening to them.

Please view our downloadable presentation “The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: Myth v. Reality” here.

Read our recent letter in response to a proposal to continue to use of lethal and invasive methods on wildlife by APHIS in the State of Wisconsin.

You can read about our recent lawsuit against APHIS over the killing of snowy owls and other bird species on this page.

We also recommend visiting Predator Defense’s website on APHIS’s War on Wildlife

For more information, check this website frequently or contact WLP.