District judge pulls pork poison plan in Texas
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Feral hogs in the state of Texas just got a reprieve from the new and controversial hog poison recently approved by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller in the form of a temporary injunction issued by a Travis County district judge.
Will this be the end of the road for the warfarin-based hog poison known as Kaput? Or will another shoe drop in the near future?
Amid the howls of outrage from a large segment of the Texas hunting community, Wild Boar Meats, a company based in Hubbard, Texas, asked for a temporary injunction preventing the use of warfarin as a hog poison in the immediate future.
The company purchases live and dead feral hogs and processes the meat as pet food. Understandably, the owners of the company were concerned about selling pet food potentially contaminated with the poison.
The Texas Hog Hunter's Association and the Environmental Defense Fund also filed legal briefs in support of Wild Boar Meats. After evaluating the case, 345th District Judge Jan Soifer issued the temporary restraining order blocking the use of the poison for the time being.
Since the injunction is only temporary, opponents of the hog poison have gone on the offensive in search of a more permanent solution. For instance, Rep. Lynn Stucky (R-Denton) — who also happens to be a veterinarian — just introduced House Bill 3451 in the Texas Legislature.
The bill would prevent the use of any lethal pesticide for feral hog control until a controlled field study assessing the impact on agriculture, hunters and the environment can be completed. If this bill gets approved and becomes law, it would probably put the brakes on the use of warfarin as a hog poison for the foreseeable future.
Supporters of the use of poison to control feral hogs point out that warfarin is an EPA-approved poison and that the baits developed for use on hogs have one-fifth the concentration of warfarin found in rat poison. They argue that the damage hogs are causing warrants the use of poison to control their numbers and that the potential problems with the poison are overblown.
Opponents of the poison argue that there will be dangerous, expensive and far-reaching unforeseen consequences of introducing a poison like warfarin into the environment. Among other things, they are concerned with livestock, pets, other wildlife and humans being harmed after unknowingly consuming the poison either directly or by eating a hog that had consumed warfarin. There are also concerns about the poison contaminating agricultural fields and the water table.
Meanwhile, the feral hog time bomb in Texas continues to tick as the hog population increases by 20 percent each year despite the best efforts of hunters and trappers in the Lone Star State.
As I've discussed in a previous article, I think the problem has gotten beyond our ability to manage with traditional hunting and trapping methods alone. Unless we develop some sort of new weapon to use against the hogs (a sodium nitrite-based poison has shown promise in some studies), then I don't see the situation improving anytime soon.
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