U.S. Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, Thursday introduced legislation in Congress that would require Wildlife Services, an obscure arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to disclose far more about the millions of animals it kills across the country than it does today.
Wildlife Services, which has killed 18,700 animals in San Diego County since 2005, works in secrecy. It doesn’t allow reporters to watch its trappers in action and it hasn’t promptly released numerous public documents about the animals it’s killed here, despite a formal request we filed under the federal Freedom of Information Act. When I asked for a database of kills it maintains, two of its employees laughed out loud at my request.
The agency posts limited information online about its operations, reporting the number and type of species it kills in each state as well as how the animals were killed. But it doesn’t explain why it killed animals or in what counties or cities it occurred.