Animal Injustice for Profit

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: How Corporate Predators and the USDA Revived Wolf Extermination in America

Government hunters are killing endangered wolves to satisfy corporate interests.

Benjamin Rankin

July 26, 2022

Global biodiversity is precipitously declining, nearly 70% of monitored animal populations have been wiped out since 1970, and the United States is waging an all-out war against its own fauna at the behest of powerful corporations. One federal agency, Wildlife Services, shot, gassed, snared, trapped, poisoned, or otherwise killed 200 wild animals per hour in 2021—that’s over 1.75 million creatures destroyed in one year, native and invasive alike. This campaign to destroy “economically harmful” or supposedly undesirable wildlife incidentally poisons and kills many thousands more animals than intended and has sent a 14-year-old boy to the hospital. In 2021, 324 gray wolves alleged by ranchers to have preyed upon livestock were killed by the federal government.

States like Idaho and Montana have passed laws that would cull wolf populations by up to 90%, partially at taxpayers’ expense. These policies are responses to corporate demands. The livestock industry in particular has spent millions of dollars lobbying the government, contributing to political candidates, and fighting in the courts and press against protections for species such as wolves. Furthermore, many of the government officials making wolf policy today are former—or current—representatives of the livestock and big game industries.