Texas Agriculture Commissioner and feral hog foe Sid Miller has officially approved a plan to wipe out Texas' pesky hog population. The fix? Poisoning wild pigs with toxic kibble.
“This solution is long overdue. Wild hogs have caused extensive damage to Texas lands and loss of income for many, many years,” Miller announced
in a Tuesday press release. “The ‘Hog Apocalypse' may finally be on the horizon."
Miller legalized the use of pesticide-laden hog food (called the “Kaput Feral Hog Lure”) earlier this week. Kaput contains a blood-thinner that oddly affects hogs more than any other mammal — and usually kill hogs within a week of consumption.
In the words of Miller (interviewed by the American-Statesman
): "If you want them gone, this will get them gone.”
Miller has been fighting Texas' estimated 2 million feral hogs since he was a state representative (he famously legalized hog hunting from a helicopter with a 2011 bill dubbed the "pork chopper"
). Now, as head of the state's agriculture department — which is hardest hit by the crop-destroying, fence-breaking hogs — he's made hog extermination his top priority. And, this time, he thinks it'll stick. He's told the legislature he'll no longer need the $900,000 earmarked for "hog control" in his pending agriculture budget.
But hog hunters aren't so thrilled.
While Miller claims this pesticide is only toxic for hogs, hunters who feed their family or pets with hog meat remain skeptical.
“If this hog is poisoned, do I want to feed it to my family? I can tell you, I don’t," said Eydin Hansen, Vice President of the Texas Hog Hunters Association, in an interview with CBS.
“If a hog dies, what eats it? Coyotes, buzzards...We’re gonna affect possibly the whole ecosystem.”
Hansen and his fellow hunters have partnered with conservationists to protest Miller's new plan, creating a Change.org petition
to draw attention. By Wednesday afternoon, the petition had more than 4,000 signatures.
According to Kaput, a poisoned hog's fat turns bright blue — a signal, perhaps, to cautious hunters. But, the pesticide label warns, the blue meat isn't recommended for human consumption.
"I feel it is a shame to poison food that MANY hungry people could eat," wrote Cindy Boughner on the petition's page.
Miller's apocalyptic plan also begs an uncomfortable question: What are you supposed to do with thousands of dead, blue hog carcasses? According to Kaput's pesticide registration form with the Environmental Protection Agency, hog carcasses found must
be buried at least 18 inches underground (unless the ground is too hard, then "contact authorities"). But since it could take up to a week for a hog to die after eating the poison food, who knows where its dead body could show up.
So, while Team Miller's pig-extermination plan will likely save acres of profitable farmland, it could also scatter the East Texas pines and South Texas brushland with blue, poisonous hog carcasses in need of burying.