Government Data Confirm That Wolves Have A Negligible Effect On U.S. Cattle & Sheep Industries – Hsus Wolf-livestock Report
June 20, 2019
In the United States, data show that wolves (Canis lupus, Canis lupus baileiy and Canis rufus) kill few cattle and sheep. Livestock predation data collected by various governmental bodies differ significantly, however. The most recent data published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA) indicate losses many times greater than those collected by states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). In the Northern Rocky Mountains, for instance, the USDA claims wolves killed 4,360 cattle in 2015, while the FWS verified only 161 such losses. The USDA’s methodology involves collecting data from a few, mostly unverified sources, which the USDA then extrapolated statewide without calculating standard errors or using models to test relationships among various mortality factors. This contravenes the scientific method and results in exaggerated livestock losses attributed to native carnivores and dogs. Unfortunately, this misinformation informs public policies that harm native carnivores, including helping to fuel countless legislative attacks on wolves, grizzly bears and the Endangered Species Act by Congress.
Author(s): Humane Society of the United States