Description:This was a vote on an amendment Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) that would have cut $11 million from a program that kills predators of livestock. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Agriculture Department programs.
Campbell urged support for his amendment: “…This amendment really ought to be a no-brainer. It cuts $11 million from the USDA Wildlife Services' livestock protection program. Let me give you four reasons why this should be a no-brainer. First of all, it saves $11 million. Not the end of the world, but it's a start. We all know we have to save a lot of money. We all know we have to spend less money, and this is a start for doing it. Now why does it do that? Why do we cut $11 million from this? This program is taxpayer money used to kill potential predators that supposedly are threatening livestock. But this killing of predators is very indiscriminate. We're killing all kinds of wildlife out there, both predators and nonpredators, both threatening and nonthreatening. Third, less than 1 percent of livestock in America is killed by predators every year. So we're spending this money for a tiny, tiny portion of the livestock that is out there. And fourth--and this is almost the biggest reason--why are taxpayers paying this? Why is this a taxpayer responsibility? If ranchers want to protect their livestock, why don't they do it? Why don't they pay for it?”
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) also supported Campbell’s amendment: “It's been about $1 billion that's been spent on this program during its duration by the federal Government, $1 billion. And during that time--because they're not following biology or any sensibility--the coyote population has tripled despite the $1 billion. In Colorado, they fly around in planes and shoot coyotes; it costs about 100 bucks a coyote. There are more coyotes now than there were when Animal Damage Control started these programs. They don't understand pack behavior and what causes dispersion. They've got coyotes now in parts of the country where they haven't seen them for 100 years. It's a really effective program; it's working really well. It has nothing to do with geese or any of that. That's another part of Wildlife Services. That is not the subsidy to private ranching interests to conduct lethal predator control. And then they do some other great things. They have these nifty little devices, they're called M-44s. It's basically a baited cyanide shot shell. Now, it has sickened some humans--hasn't killed any yet. Has killed quite a number of domestic animals. Sooner or later it's going to kill a kid. Some kid is going to be pulling on that little string saying, gee, I wonder what this does--BAM, cyanide shot shell. Now, that's really discriminate. That's really effective. That's the same program that has helped triple the population of coyotes out there over the last 80 years since these programs have existed.
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) opposed the amendment: “ The federal government doesn't allow people to kill predators that are attacking their livestock. So consequently, here's another situation just like we discussed yesterday, where the government puts restrictions on ranchers and farmers so they cannot protect their own livestock. So the taxpayers--because of their demands that ranchers and farmers not protect their own livestock, the federal government steps in…. Furthermore, there's been an $18 million loss of sheep and lands to predators, or $111 million when you add cattle and calf losses. Absent predator management, losses would explode, and that would drive family farms and ranchers out of business.”
The House rejected Campbell’s amendment by a vote of 132-287. Voting “yea” were 103 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 29 Republicans. 207 Republicans and 80 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have cut $11 million from a program intended to protect livestock from predators.