Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The War on Feral Hogs Moves to Poison

Sid Miller, Hog Killer, and Poisoner of Wildlife

The Washington Post reports that the war on feral hogs has reached a new level.

It seems that Texas's war on hogs was not going well enough with helicopters shooting the beasts from the air, and unlimited take given to shooters, hog trappers, and running dog men.

The new answer, according to Texas agricultural commissioner Sid Miller: rat poison.  More specifically, vast amounts of Warfarin.

Pigs eat it. It kills them slowly, often painfully, and turns their innards blue. It’s already wiped out swine herds in Australia, which later banned the product as inhumane.

The Environmental Protection Agency just approved it.

Hunters and wildlife experts, not so much.

More than 3,000 have signed the Texas Hog Hunters Association’s petition against Miller’s chemical war.

“If this hog is poisoned, do I want to feed it to my family?” the group’s vice president, Eydin Hansen, asked the Dallas CBS affiliate. “I can tell you, I don’t.”

Warfarin, as I have noted in the past, is named after the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which discovered the rat poison and heart medication (sold as Coumadin) in red clover.

The warfarin they intend to use in Texas
will be dyed blue which will taint the pig meat to let hunters know the pig is not fit for human consumption. But what if a dead feral hog is preyed on by dogs, coyotes, fox, and other wildlife such as vultures?  No word.

Australia used warfarin to control their feral hog population, but thought better of it after seeing the reality on the ground:

“It is considered inhumane and its use is being phased out in all states and territories,” reads an Australian government assessment from 2009, shared with The Washington Post....

The poison was effective, granted. It proved as apocalyptic as Miller promises, taking just a few months to wipe out an estimated 99 percent of wild pigs in Sunny Corner State Forest during an experiment in 1987.

Other studies described poisoned hogs’ last days in explicit detail: Some were lucky; massive internal bleeding killed them quickly after they ate warfarin. Most suffered for a week or more — one pig for a full month before it died.

“Animals moved only if approached closely and spent most time lying in shelter,” researchers wrote in Australian Wildlife Research in 1990.

Some leaked blood from their eyes or anuses. Many bled internally — sometimes into their joints, causing severe pain. An autopsy revealed one pig’s liver had fused to its stomach.

Being shot from a helicopter, the Australian government concluded, was objectively less cruel.


ND Alexander said...

I'm a Texan and hog hunter who knows firsthand how much damage hogs do to the environment and farmers' wheat fields. I hate the darn things, but using poison is throwing the baby out with the bathwater! The petition on change.org had almost 14,000 signatures as of yesterday. Lots of Texans don't agree with this course of action!

Jacinta Denton said...

Texas needs to clean out the Dept of Ag, they start on the hogs.

ND Alexander said...

Just an update...Our petition to stop the use of warfarin was successful! An injunction was issued to stop Sid Miller's authorization to use poison to kill hogs! I just received an email from the Texas Hog Hunters Association with the news.