Since the early part of the 20th century, the United States has supported a program aimed at predatory animal control. Particular species of predators have been significantly affected by the methods used under the auspices of this predator control program. For
instance, wolf species, particularly the red wolf, faced near extinction, which created the necessity for programs to restore the population number. However, potential species extinction is not the only adverse effect of predatory animal control. There are numerous
associated costs that have culminated since the commencement of this program. This article will explore the history, implementation, and effects of this program, known as the Animal Damage Control Act of 1931 (“ADC”). It may be said that the greatest predators of
all are, in fact, human beings; and the execution of the ADC has reflected this. The ADC, since its inception, has been primarily driven by ranchers and agricultural interests,5 with a disregard for the potential, long-range consequences. While there is an argument that
livestock need to be protected from injurious, predatory animals, the resulting costs of the program significantly outweigh any benefit to the preservation of livestock. This article will examine the negative consequences that are products of the ADC and will conclude with potential reforms to the ADC and the agency responsible for completing the purpose of the ADC. Part II begins with the history leading up to the creation of the Animal Damage Control Act of 1931 and then summarizes the history of the ADC from its inception up to the present day. Part III describes the directives of Wildlife Services, the agency responsible for the ADC’s execution. Part IV of this article enumerates the associated costs and consequences that have resulted from the methods used by Wildlife Services in executing the ADC. Part V then considers philosophical and ethical notions, which should be taken into consideration when evaluating the ADC. Part VI provides a critique of Wildlife Services in meeting its stated directives and considers the future of the ADC. Finally, part VII provides this article’s conclusion, which is that Congress needs to address the negative consequences of the ADC either through its complete abolition of the act or through significant amendments to the allowable ADC methods.