UTAH — Deseret News reporter Brent Israelson in late April obtained and reported on a federal agency memorandum that outlines 16 answers exclusively appropriate for the press regardless of what questions are asked.
Animal Damage Control officials are told to stress that their agency acts under law, using a variety of effective methods; that its programs are not meant to have a long-term effect on wildlife; that it uses tax dollars to manage a public resource, and that its methods are environmentally sound.
“When faced with an interview situation remember, regardless of the question these are the answers. Remember ADC is doing the right thing, we are doing it the right way, and we are doing it for the right reasons,” instructs the communication from a public affairs official of the Western regional office of ADC in Lakewood, Colo. The office is a U.S. Department of Agriculture agency.
A major mission of the ADC is protecting domestic livestock by managing populations of coyote, cougars and bears, largely through trapping and hunting.
Its activities are often criticized by environmental groups such as the Southern Utah Wilderness Association whose spokesman Ken Rait told the Deseret News, “Now they have automatic weapons with automatic mouthpieces, robo-killers with robo- answers.”
Stuart MacDonald, the public affairs official who wrote the memorandum told the newspaper that “nothing devious” was intended by it and that it was not meant to be used for answering tough questions. He said the 16 messages outlined in the memo represent salient points that the public needs to know.
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