The U.S. government also sanctions mass and wanton killing. Mr. Cornwall's summaries of body counts of animals killed by Wildlife Services (or Murder Inc.) is truly sickening. Individuals working for Wildlife Services kill millions of animals every year, including two million European starlings and more than one million brown-headed cowbirds. It's really heartening that their murderous ways are under investigation by members of Congress and various organizations including Project Coyote and Predator Defense (see also this).
Is there a suitable exit strategy?
Concerning the owls, there are varied opinions. Bob Sallinger, conservation director of the Audubon Society of Portland, Oregon, notes, "On the one hand, killing thousands of owls is completely unacceptable. On the other hand, the extinction of the spotted owl is completely unacceptable."
So, what should be done? While some favor killing barred owls, others say let nature take its course. Some say it will work and some say it won't. Mr. Cornwall asks a most important practical question: "What's the exit strategy? Can we kill 10,000 barred animals every year forever?" That's the magic number some experts talk about in discussions about what it will take to help spotted owls. Killing experiments by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service are in the planning stages in only two percent of spotted owl habitat in Washington, Oregon, and northern California, at a cost of about $4 million and thousands of dead barred owls (approximately $1,000 per dead bird). And, there will be collateral damage.