Three environmental groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court seeking to halt part of a controversial government program that kills predators, including coyotes, bears and mountain lions, in ways that the groups allege are cruel, outdated and ineffective.
The lawsuit challenges a U.S. Department of Agriculture program called Wildlife Services that uses leg-hold traps, strangulation snares, poisons and guns to kill animals at taxpayer expense, mostly to benefit livestock operations.
In 2018, the program killed nearly 1.5 million animals nationwide, including 26,441 in California, according to USDA records.
The statewide toll included 3,826 coyotes, 859 beavers, 170 foxes, 105 black bears and 83 mountain lions along with 5,675 birds.
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