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Texas City Halts Its Proposed Prairie-Dog Massacre

October 2002

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issued a notice that it planned to poison thousands of prairie dogs at Lubbock’s Land Application Site (LLAS) on the grounds that the prairie dogs caused groundwater contamination beneath the site. PETA received a letter from the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife stating that the TCEQ had no evidence that prairie dogs contribute to groundwater contamination. We also received a study conducted by Texas Tech University demonstrating that prairie dogs have virtually no impact on watershed pollution.

In response, PETA sent a letter to the TCEQ executive director asking that the agency revise its request. In addition, several national animal protection organizations filed a lawsuit against the TCEQ and Lubbock to prevent the eradication of up to 50,000 prairie dogs on about 750 acres. The following day, TCEQ amended its order that identified prairie dogs as part of a groundwater contamination problem.

The Lubbock NBC television affiliate KCBD aired a story called “Prairie Dog Massacre Halted,” during which Mayor Mark McDougal said, “The bottom line is nobody’s going to be killing any prairie dogs anytime soon …”