“Feral hog apocalypse” triggers drastic, controversial action

hogFears of a “feral hog apocalypse” has prompted Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller to approve the use of a piggy pesticide.

As reported by CBS News, Commissioner Miller will employ the use of Kaput Feral Hog Lure, a bait food that is laced with warfarin. The drug—often used to exterminate rats—is prescribed in smaller doses by doctors to help prevent blood clots, and will target the more than 2.5 million feral hogs in Texas. According to the Austin American-Statesman, this invasive pig population cost an estimated $50 million a year to Texas agriculture interests, along with the untold damage to residential yards in suburban areas.

The move by the Agriculture commissioner, however, has caused uproar among Texas hunters.

“We don’t think poison is the way to go,” said Eydin Hansen, Vice President of the Texas Hog Hunters Association.

Hansen said that he prefers hunting and trapping methods in order to control the species due to the potential environmental impact. Hansen and other hunters across Texas, along with conservationists fear other animals may be exposed to toxin.

“If a hog dies, what eats it? Coyotes, buzzards…” said Hansen. “We’re gonna affect possibly the whole ecosystem.”

Miller, who says he is changing Texas agricultural rules to allow the use of the product, said Kaput presents a “minimal risk to other animals” because it requires much higher dosages to affect other wildlife populations or livestock. And as for the concerns of hunters, Miller said hunters would be able to tell if the feral hog has consumed Kaput because the fat will be a bright blue.

“It’s a dead giveaway,” said Miller, who said the product has won federal approval.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has not yet commented on the move. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department spokesman Steve Lightfoot said the agency had been consulted.

“These invasive animals destroy native habitats, indirectly impacting our state’s wildlife resources that rely on these habitats, and the department strongly supports and encourages feral hog control management practices,” he said.

“As for non-target species, we can’t speculate on the impacts to wildlife species should exposure or consumption take place because dose, dose frequency, body mass and species sensitivity will likely be highly variable. Studies have shown that individual animals, such as rodents and raptors, can be affected through primary and secondary consumption of warfarin.”

Officials in Louisiana are also considering usage of the product in the near future.