Animal Damage Control Program:

Efforts to Protect Livestock from Predators

RCED-96-3: Published: Oct 30, 1995. Publicly Released: Nov 6, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal Damage Control (ADC) Program, focusing on the extent to which ADC field personnel use nonlethal methods to control livestock predators.

GAO found that: (1) ADC field personnel in 4 western states use lethal methods to control livestock predators despite written USDA policies and procedures giving preference to the use of nonlethal control methods where practical and effective; (2) ADC officials believe that the written guidance does not apply to controlling livestock predators, since nonlethal methods such as fencing and guard dogs are more appropriately used by livestock operators, have limited effectiveness, and are not practical for field personnel to use; and (3) although most of the operators requesting ADC assistance have already implemented nonlethal control methods, they are still losing livestock.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service revised the Animal Damage Control Directive on November 2, 1995. The revised directive addresses the recommendation that written guidance specify the role and use of nonlethal methods. The directive now states that most nonlethal methods are more appropriately applied by the livestock owner, not Animal Damage Control field personnel.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, should revise the Animal Damage Control Program's written guidance to specify the role and use of nonlethal methods in controlling livestock predators.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


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