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Know the West

ADC must go

  In the summer of 1992, Ruth Shea, an Idaho Fish and Game Department employee, was riding in the Caribou National Forest when she looked down and saw steel-jawed traps buried in the trail. Then she came upon the trapped and decayed bodies of two coyotes and a badger. "These traps appeared to have been set ... to indiscriminately kill anything that walked down the trail," Shea said in a letter published by the Idaho Falls Post Register. Researcher Pat Wolff documents this episode in a 31-page special report she prepared for the Arizona-based Wildlife Damage Review. The report, Waste, Fraud and Abuse in the U.S. Animal Damage Control Program, recounts how the federal agency's use of poisons, aerial gunning, traps and snares slaughter thousands of animals. Another group, the Montana-based Predator Project, recently issued a similar report. Written by Ben D. Deeble and Felice Stadler, the 49-page Animal Damage Control: How your Tax Dollars Subsidize Agri-Business by Killing and Harassing America's Wildlife, says ADC spends 70 percent of its money on programs relating to the livestock industry. Only 2 percent of livestock losses, however, are due to predators. Years of failed reform attempts lead both predator-protection groups to conclude that the government must abolish ADC. Reports are $10 each from Wildlife Damage Review, P.O. Box 85128, Tucson, AZ 85754 (602/884-0883) and Predator Project, P.O. Box 6733, Bozeman, MT 59771 (406/587-3389).