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USDA Poisoned Thousands Of Wild Birds In South Dakota

USDA Poisoned Thousands Of Wild Birds In South Dakota

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) admitted that it intentionally poisoned over 200 wild birds in South Dakota because they were relieving themselves in the feed at a nearby feedlot.

A week ago, residents in Yankton, South Dakota found hundreds of starlings lying dead on the ground or frozen in trees. It was initially thought that extremely cold weather could have been at fault for the mass deaths.

Soon after the dead birds were discovered, the Yankton police department received a call from the USDA, attesting that they had poisoned the birds at a feedlot 10 miles away using bait laced with the poison DRC-1339.

Death from DRC-1339 results from uremic poisoning. The damaged kidneys are unable to excrete the body’s waste products and these build up in the bloodstream to a lethal level.

Apparently, some 5,000 of the birds were defecating in the feed meal, posing a threat to the animals and farm workers. The USDA decided killing them would be the best action to take, reports the Huffington Post.

USDA officials said they were surprised that the poisoned birds were able to get to Yankton before dying. In all, officials estimate nearly 2,000 birds ate the poison. However, since the bait has been removed they don’t expect any more birds to die (KTIV).

This USDA report (PDF) also confirms that similar actions were taken to eliminate blackbirds in North Dakota.

Officials claim that the poison and dead birds pose no risk to humans or the environment, but with poison-filled corpses possibly falling into streams or being eaten by scavengers, it’s hard to believe that no other species will be affected.

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Image Credit: Flickr - Elsie esq.

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243 comments

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12:30PM PST on Mar 6, 2013

There should be more intelligent ways than to declare living beings pests and just poison them. All this is going to backfire one way or another, since toxins find their ways back to us.

4:03PM PST on Feb 20, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

12:17PM PST on Jan 24, 2013

Once again this Government tries to solve a animal problem, a purely natural body function, to protect the cattle ranchers livelihood, (cow flesh), so their way of solving KILL IT! now how can they control the poisoning of birds? Did they use it in the air? bird seed? did this poison seep into the cattle feed ? the water? the soil? Are children going to grow up sick from this? They had no right to do this! this government forgets one very important top priority issue... that is THEY WORK FOR ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS! WE vote them in and we should be allowed t ovote them out on acts like this! Impeach them all! This government make me sick, their only way to solve a problem is kill it!

6:42AM PST on Dec 10, 2012

They are disgusting not only for laying their bait of poison but also for allowing us to wonder why the birds died in the thousands. People claiming all sort of biblical reason and bullocks, and in the meanwhile it was a planned move by the USDA.

Melanie D. either your quoting someone, or you've lost your mind t(o the bible?) clearly!
I'm not a moron or others that know it's true, the damn USDA admitted it, you wanker, wake up.

9:49AM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

Judge accepts Scott's Miracle-Gro guilty plea in bird seed case
Company coated its seed in an insecticide known to be toxic to fish and birds and that is not approved for use in bird food. The company has proposed paying a fine of at least $4 million.
Photo: ZUMA Press
From staff and wire reports

Scotts Miracle-Gro has pleaded guilty to breaking federal pesticide laws by using an unapproved insecticide on bird seed that was sold across the nation.

Scotts produced wild bird seed packaged as Morning Song and Country Pride that contained an insecticide intended to prevent insects from eating the product during storage. Production began in 2005 and continued through March 2008, despite warnings from Scott's employees that the chemicals were toxic to birds.

The insecticide, which is toxic to fish, birds and other wildlife, wasn't approved for use in bird food, according to the Associated Press.

U.S. District Court Judge James Graham accepted the guilty plea from the company on Tuesday. The company has proposed that it pay a $4 million fine and give $500,000 to support the study and preservation of wildlife. Graham will make a decision on the terms of the deal at a sentencing date to be determined, the Environmental News Service reported.

The birdseed in question was coated with Storcide II, a chemical insecticide accompanied by warning labels that read: “Toxic to birds, toxic to wildlife” and “Exposed treated seed may be hazardous to birds.&#

9:56AM PST on Jan 13, 2012

Shame on the USDA!!!

10:14AM PST on Jan 10, 2012

The main reason humans are so horrifically bad is we tend to think we are above and apart from "nature". We are just animals as well, and no we are not as special as we think we are. Other members of the animal kingdom are just as smart, if not smarter, they use tools and have language. We think that because we change the planet to suit ourselves we are superior. To the overall ecosystem of the planet, humans are more like a virus or parasite than anything remotely beneficial.
Not only should there be outrage at the death of the birds; but also at the fact that it appears the government is providing pest control services for private enterprise.

6:20AM PST on Jan 4, 2012

What monsters again.
I think, that some are not able to live when they cannot kill,
destroy or torture something or somebody.
They have to pay by money and by justice - this should be the way.

8:57PM PST on Jan 3, 2012

and yet "they" say we're crazy conspiracy theorists

5:46AM PST on Jan 3, 2012

Awful - why do so many humans seem to love killing animals??? We don't deserve this amazing planet. :-(

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