Nearly a million coyotes have been killed by Wildlife Services since 2000.
In the western US, conflict between ranchers and wild animals who might harm their stock is an old, old story. But in 1915, the federal government started helping ranchers and farmers out by killing animals suspected of attacking livestock, eventually forming an agency known as Animal Damage Control. Today, though, the agency has morphed into something that appalled many of the readers who learned of its activities last week in the Sacramento Bee.
When Wildlife Services, as the group is now called, finds a bald eagle, a family’s beloved husky, or a young badger in a trap laid for coyotes or prairie dogs, its back broken or leg snapped, it is shot and its body buried. Its death at the hands of federal employees is rarely, if ever, reported as required. This happens thousands of times a year, on top of all the killings of wildlife that are the agency’s intended targets.
“The average American baby is born with 10 fingers, 10 toes and the highest recorded levels of flame retardants among infants in the world.” So begins the Chicago Tribune’s damning four-part series about spin and science, or lack thereof, in the flame retardants industry. Flame retardant chemicals have become so ubiquitous–there’s two pounds of the stuff in just the cushions of a large couch—because we’ve accepted the health dangers are worth the protection they provide against fire. Except, there is no scientific basis for the claim that flame retardants save lives.
Part three in the series, published today, is a systematic debunking of the few studies the industry has continuously cited as evidence for the efficacy of flame retardants. One obscure Swedish study, available only in Swedish, relied on flimsy evidence from just eight electrical fires caused by TVs. The peer-reviewed paper also lists a PR specialist among its authors. The lead scientist of another study has disavowed what he calls the industry’s “grossly distorted” flogging of his work, which looked at levels of flame retardants far above industry standard in household furniture. These examples and many more show how scientific authority has been manipulated for profit: Read More