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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A philosophy of vertebrate pest control


Vertebrate pest problems are foremost economic, political and social rather than biological anomalies. Students are often turned away from vertebrate control, which is applied ecology, by professors who know only theory and do not understand the ecology of man-modified environments. Applied ecologists seeking alternative methods of vertebrate control benefit environment far more than the negative, anti-control approach based on half-truths that are used for self-serving purposes by many protectionist organizations and government leaders in CEQ, EPA and USDI. A healthy ethic, with deep ecological conscience, would be to appreciate the glory of death in nature, for death means life to other individuals within a species. A vertebrate control operation has benefit factors other than the individual or species being controlled, whereas the objective of wildlife management favors the well-being of local populations of the species in question. Since Land-Grant Universities are geared for research and extension support from the USDA, it is a mistake to have the responsibility for vertebrate pest control in the conservation wildlife-management oriented Fish and Wildlife Service of USDI.

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