The widespread use of animal poisons for wildlife “management” goes back to at least 1835 with the invention of strychnine. For about 180 years now wolves, coyotes, foxes, badgers, cougar, bear, bobcats, prairie dogs, birds, insects, fish and plants to name a few have been increasingly subjected to these poisons. The results are always the same—massive unintended damage to wildlife and ecosystems including by-kill of other birds, fish, animals, plants and soil life.
For millennia humans have raised pigs to roam and forage at large. Always, these were seasonally gathered for slaughter. Starting about four decades ago the big hog producers got the agencies to make it illegal to do this, even though free-ranging pigs are less subject to disease, and are more wholesome, than pork raised in Big Pork’s inhumane, filthy, epidemic-ridden and environmentally-disastrous pig factories.
Poisoning pigs, with whatever poison, makes as much sense as poisoning cattle, leaving them to rot, and in the process making the survivors unsafe to eat. The solution is obvious: put these feral domestic animals back in the human food chain. There will be immediate benefits to the environment, the economics of landowners, and the public which will have a nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive source of pork.
I interviewed the author of this article. He wrote in an e-mail, “You and I are in agreement that using poison to eradicate or control feral hog populations is akin to opening up a Pandora’s Box. Like I said, even if the poison is successful in killing large numbers of hogs (and there’s no guarantee that it will), there are almost certainly going to be all sorts of other unintended consequences from that exercise that we’ll have to deal with in the future. Your idea of trying to change our overall way of thinking towards hogs and leveraging the large population of feral hogs that currently exists in the USA as a food source certainly has merit. I look forward to learning more about the details of your proposal.”
Big Pork — the coalition of universities, agencies and legislatures — block this common sense by hiding behind regulations which are as hard to understand as rocket science. These regulations safeguard their restricted markets, financial interests and turf. There is no organization better positioned than the Texas Wildlife Association to lead on this, if it will break ranks with Big Wildlife.
There’s a New Pig Poison in Texas
Christopher Gill is a TWA Life Member who served as TWA Director, Executive Committee Member, Strategic Planning Committee Member, Co-Chair of the West Texas Big Game Committee, and active TWA fund raiser.