Texas House votes to halt feral hog poison
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
As predicted in a previous article, the battle has intensified over the use of Kaput, a warfarin-based hog poison recently approved by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. Both sides have brought out the heavy artillery and scored a couple of notable successes in recent weeks, but opponents of the hog poison look like they're getting the most traction in their efforts, particularly with a big win in the Texas Legislature this week.
Opponents of the poison got their first big victory in the fight with a temporary injunction preventing use of the poison from 345th District Judge Jan Soifer back in March. Both sides used the pause provided by the injunction to build up support for respective cases in the subsequent weeks.
Supporters of the poison got a notable victory when the Texas Farm Bureau entered the fight and endorsed the use of Kaput for feral hog control. Additionally, Miller — who was the original champion of Kaput and approved the rules authorizing it for hog control — has made a serious effort to clean up his messaging on the poison during March and April.
In particular, Miller has emphasized that Kaput has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and may only be purchased and used by licensed applicators in the state of Texas. Furthermore, he stressed the point that without the usage rules for the poison that he approved (which restrict who can purchase and apply the poison), anybody in the state would be able to use Kaput.
However, opponents of Kaput scored what may end up being a decisive victory in the war over feral hog poison when the Texas House of Representatives approved House Bill 3451 today, 127-12. The bill, authored by Rep. Lynn Stucky (R-Denton), would prevent the use of any lethal pesticide, including Kaput, for feral hog control until a controlled field study assessing the impact on agriculture, hunters and the environment can be completed.
An identical piece of legislation (Senate Bill 1454) is currently pending in the Texas Senate. Since more than two-thirds of the representatives in the house voted for HB 3451, the law would take effect immediately as long as SB 1454 passes by the same margin. Otherwise, the bill would actually take effect Sept. 1.
Executives at Scimetrics (the company manufacturing Kaput) anticipate selling the poison through licensed distributors in Texas starting May 1. So, if the law banning the use of feral hog poison were to take effect immediately, it would likely crush any hope by supporters of the hog poison of it getting approved for use in Texas for the foreseeable future.
Though the fight over Kaput is not over by a long shot, it's starting to look as though the poison will not get approved for use in the Lone Star State. However, even after this question gets settled, a much bigger question on how exactly to control the ticking time bomb that is the exploding feral hog population in Texas will still remain.
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