Groups petition for end to gunning after plane tragedy
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
June 17, 2007
Earlier this month, two federal agriculture agents died when their plane crashed during an aerial gunning trip in Wayne County, Utah. Pilot Joseph Harris and gunner Glen Stevenson routinely flew on aerial hunts. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Twenty-seven environmental groups are taking advantage of the recent event to once again call for an end to aerial gunning of coyotes, this time citing their concern for USDA agents in aircraft.
“As a wildlife management tool, aerial gunning makes as much sense as using tactical nuclear weapons to root out prairie dogs,” stated Jeff Ruch, Executive Director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
Groups signing the petition to USDA to end the program are somewhat of a who’s-who of those wanting to end public lands livestock grazing, hunting, and want to bring more wolves to more areas – not exactly agricultural advocates.
The list includes: AGRO: A Coalition to End Aerial Gunning of Wildlife; Alaska Wildlife Alliance; Animal Defense League of Arizona; Animal Welfare Institute; Big Wildlife; Biodiversity Conservation Associates; Center for Biological Diversity; Center for Native Ecosystems; Cougar Fund; Forest Guardians; Great Old Broads for Wilderness; Great Plains Restoration Council; Humane Society of the United States; In Defense of Animals; The Larch Company; Mountain Cats Trust; Oregon Natural Desert Association; Prairie Preservation Alliance; Predator Conservation Alliance; Predator Defense Institute; PEER; Sagebrush Sea Campaign; Sierra Club; Sinapu; Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project; Western Watersheds Project; Wildlife Damage Review.