Opponents of feral hog poison moving rapidly
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Though there haven't been any major new headlines in the news lately about the controversial hog poison approved by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller back in February, that doesn't mean the issue has gone away. On the contrary, this may very well be the calm before another storm breaks regarding the hog poison in Texas.
As discussed in a previous article, a Travis County district judge issued a temporary injunction earlier this month preventing the use of the warfarin-based hog poison known as Kaput. When she issued the injunction, Judge Jan Soifer sided with Wild Boar Meats, a pet food manufacturing company based in Hubbard, Texas.
Wild Boar Meats uses wild hogs as a key ingredient in the pet food it produces. For this reason, the owners of the company were concerned about unknowingly processing feral hogs contaminated with warfarin and thereby potentially selling warfarin-laced pet food to their customers.
Technically, the injunction only blocks the regulations set by the Texas Agricultural Commission and not the actual use of the poison. However, the manufacturer of Kaput has stated that it will not sell the poison to anyone in the state of Texas until the state formally adopts rules for use, so the injunction has been a de facto ban on the use of Kaput in Texas for the past few weeks.
The temporary injunction ends March 30, and Judge Soifer has scheduled another hearing about the subject. Both sides have had a few weeks to prepare their arguments both for and against the use of Kaput as a hog poison, and we're likely to see a more permanent decision from the court soon.
In the meantime, opponents of the hog poison have launched a major offensive in an effort to block the use of Kaput — regardless of the decision the court makes. Shortly after the news first broke about the hog poison in February, the Texas Hog Hunters Association started a petition on Change.org that has gathered more than 18,000 signatures in protest of Miller's decision.
Additionally, Rep. Lynn Stucky (R-Denton) — who is also a veterinarian — and Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) introduced House Bill 3451 and Senate Bill 1454 in the Texas Legislature. The identical bills would specifically block the use of any lethal pesticide for feral hog control until scientists complete a controlled field study assessing the impact on agriculture, hunters and the environment.
With 114 co-authors in the House and eight in the Senate (at the time this article was written), both bills seem to have a great deal of support in the legislature.
If the judge permits the state to go forward with the rules authorizing the use of Kaput as a hog poison, there is a good chance that opponents of the poison will make a final, all-out push to mobilize the public against the use of Kaput. If that happens, we could see a groundswell of support for those pending bills in the legislature.
Since the bills are identical, they are already ideally designed for rapid passage, and they could potentially ride a wave of public opinion through the legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott's desk to become law.
Stay tuned for more updates on this situation as it develops.
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