In 1913, the skunk was this day added to the list of natural resources which should be conserved or protected before extermination. The department of agriculture qualified this animal as of "great economic importance" in a statement made public, and asked that it be given the same protection that the federal agents were compelled to exercise in the prevention of bird slaughter. "Some of the most destructive insects in agriculture do their work below ground and out of reach of any method that the farmer could apply. It is against many of these that the skunk is an inveterate enemy," the statement asserted. "Not withstanding all of this," it continued, "there is probably not an animal that is as ruthlessly slaughtered as this one."