Mrs. DAVIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the Transparency for Lethal Control Act (TLC), legislation requiring the United States Department of Agriculture to publish clear and accessible information on animals killed through the Wildlife Services program of the Animal Health and Inspection Service.
The Wildlife Services program is responsible for intervening in situations when an animal is considered a threat or serious nuisance to humans. In some cases, animals are killed to fulfill this mission.
Efforts to gather adequate information regarding Wildlife Services operations have been difficult. The USDA has not made detailed data available to the public relating to where, why, how, and which animals have been killed. This lack of transparency and public reporting makes oversight impossible. The USDA could be acting inappropriately or recklessly and without this data, we can't know.
That is why I am introducing legislation to require the USDA to publish kill data online by state, county (or other similar political subdivision), and municipality.
The killing of animals should not be a routine or reflexive government response. It should only be undertaken, if at all, after careful deliberation and under strict supervision. For that reason, the public and Congress need to have the opportunity for vigorous oversight to ensure that the USDA is acting appropriately and considering all cheaper and more humane alternatives.
Congress must improve oversight of the Wildlife Services program and ensure that the USDA is using tax dollars efficiently and appropriately. I urge passage of the Transparency for Lethal Control Act (TLC).