Is predator control inhumane?

Americans increasingly seem to think so. In 2014, we asked a representative sample of people in the U.S. what they thought of a variety of control methods (both lethal and nonlethal). When we compared our results with data from 1995, we found that nearly every control action was rated less humane than 2 decades earlier. The two that showed no change? Neck snares and shooting animals from aircraft–two actions already perceived to be not at all humane in 1995.

At the same time, when compared to 1995, Americans had the same level of slight disagreement with the statement, “Predator control is unacceptable.” They increasingly agreed with the notion that “Farmers have the right to control wildlife that are damaging their crops,” and had the same level of slight agreement with “It is acceptable to remove predators that prey on livestock.”

These nuanced findings suggest that Americans feel control is sometimes necessary, but are “increasingly skeptical of the methods employed in control actions.”

Check out the  accompanying articles from the Special Feature on Predator Control in the Journal of Mammalogy!

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