Conservationists have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture saying a program used to kill coyotes and other predators that threaten livestock is outdated, illegal and a waste of federal money.
Lawyers for New Mexico-based WildEarth Guardians say USDA's Wildlife Services has refused for nearly two decades to conduct the environmental reviews necessary to justify the killings with poisons, traps and aerial gunning.
They're asking a federal judge in Las Vegas to shut down the agency that spent $127 million in 2010 to exterminate more than 5 million animals, including mountain lions, wolves and bears.
The lawsuit filed Monday says the program primarily benefits a small number of larger agribusiness operations in the West. They say it ignores modern science about critical roles of native carnivores in the ecosystem.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.