Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Feral hog apocalypse now

In between doom and gloom tweets about Crooked Donald, I've been seeing a great deal of stories about animals acting out of character. A bull escaped from a slaughterhouse and led police on a chase through New York. He was shot with multiple tranquilizers before he passed out (and eventually died).

I found it very sad.

Then a coyote in South Carolina followed a doctor into his office. The doctor panicked and led the aggressive coyote on a ten-foot chase before it got distracted by a squirrel. There is no information about whether or not he caught the squirrel.

Now Texas is launching a full-scale effort to stave off a "feral hog apocalypse." Apparently as many as 2.5 million feral hogs are roaming Texas helping themselves to what the Texas Agriculture Commission claims is $50 million worth of crops and Aunt Betty's petunias each year.

The Texas legislature tried reducing the hog population by authorizing hog hunting from helicopters. A company called Helibacon cropped up and as many as 27,000 feral hogs are dispatched by hunters in helicopters each year. But that is just a drop in the slop bucket of hogs, so the Texas Agriculture Commissioner has authorized use of the pesticide, Kaput Feral Hog Lure. It will be used as bait food laced with warfarin which is the same drug used to kill rats.

Apparently It can also be prescribed by doctors, in smaller doses, to prevent blood clots (I assume in humans and not feral hogs).

At least 1,200 hunters and the Texas Hog Hunter's Association (yes there is such a thing) have signed a petition opposing using poison to control the feral hogs. It is unclear how many of the feral hogs have signed, but I imagine most of them don't like the idea either. The hunters don't like the idea of potentially shooting a hog that is laced with rat poison (even if eating it helps reduce blood clotting). The feral hogs also find the name "Kaput Feral Hog Lure" offensive.

The Texas Agriculture Commission has countered that if the state uses the poison  the department would no longer need $900,000 earmarked for feral hog control research.

Is it just me, or is that a lot of money for feral hog control research? I personally think poisoning the hogs is a stupid idea. Someone just needs to convince Trump that the hogs came from Mexico illegally and the Texas National Guard would be rounding them up and shipping them over the border post haste.

Anyway, I think this story makes fake news look pretty lame.

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