Hog-Gone It! There’s a New Pig Poison in Texas


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.

NOTE: this article below is from Texas Wildlife and can be found here. It was written by John McAdams.

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.

Ranching, wildlife management, finance, oil & gas, real estate development and management.
  • The excerpt here in your blog post and the article you linked to from Texas Wildlife seem to have a bit of a different tune. I also didn’t see where the excerpt was located in the full article, maybe there was a problem in linking the full article so we only received page. Nevertheless, a good conversation can be started from what’s been stated here.

    Across the board, I think it can be agreed that the use of Strychnine to eradicate wolves across the United States was a disaster that, if we could go back in time with hindsight, would not be repeated. However, the use of poisons to help mitigate the hog problem may be a tool that could be used, hopefully safely, to our advantage. Unfortunately, marketing feral hogs as being a healthy alternative food source to “big pork” and factory farming may seem like a great cause that fixes both sides’ problems, the truth of the matter has been shown that standard harvesting practices have been proved ineffective in managing the populations across the board. Feral hogs reproduce in a manner so efficiently that there will need to be some sort of mass harvesting practice to put any sort of dent in their population.

    It has been shown that the use of trapping, and to an extent helicopter harvesting, are helping to curb their populations. After seeing the disastrous effects Strychnine had on the wolves and unfortunately anything that crossed in its path, it is easy to see why the use of poisons could bring a bad feeling to any situations. However, it may be the only hope in slowing down this exponential growth of feral hogs across the United States.

    • Hello Justin,

      The remarks by the author were in a separate e-mail, not in the article which I agree sounds like he is in favor of the poison. So I called him to see if he had ever just thought of capturing and eating these animals, or if he had any proof they were unfit. He had neither and in fact opined that wild pork – which he eats without hesitation – is probably safer than venison considering CWD.

      Regarding the new poison, it was spot tested and produced, according to the TPWD biologist who reported the result, the largest bird by-kill he had ever seen, once again proving that the use of poisons on wild animals is complete insanity. https://www.timesrecordnews.com/story/news/local/2018/05/21/bird-deaths-setback-feral-hog-poison-testing-texas/629868002/

      Free-range hogs are no more unfit to eat than free-range cattle, or for that matter deer, quail or ducks. Wildlife is prohibited as commercial food not because it is dirty but because we want to protect it from over hunting.

      • That’s unfortunate that the spot test produced such negatives effects. I was hoping they had potentially found a chemical with minimal bystander effects. If that is the case, then yes I am against the use of chemicals. As I said, with the use of Strychnine, I assume they didn’t really know better. With hindsight, however, we can’t use the excuse of stupidity, we must find an alternative solution that ethically deals with the problem.

        • Hello Justin,

          Strychnine was just one of many poisons used over the years – all did vast damage. We use more poisons including herbicides and pesticides than ever before and so I am not sure if we have learned anything, insofar is our increased knowledge is reflected by our actions. Benign poison is a self-contradiction. It assumes that these can be targeted, which in all the history of poisons has been an impossibility.

          Do you have any reason to think that free range pork is unwholesome or unfit to eat? What is the scientific basis for this belief because I find none. And if there is no basis for saying we should not eat free range pigs, why isn’t the harvesting and sale of these animals the answer?

          By “harvesting”,I am not talking about boutique operations to send a trickle of these animals to Europe, which by the way has stricter food health laws than we do. I’m talking about going back to the situation that existed 40 years ago: trap your pigs; take them to the stockyards; put them in the loading chute; and get a check. End of story, end of pig problem.

          Thanks for writing.

  • Mr. Gill, I agree and often think of the wild hog population in terms of a resource, but have yet to figure out how that resource could be harnessed on a scale that makes sense. It would require a type of commitment that is just not there. Meanwhile, feral hogs will continue to run roughshod over our ecosystem because not enough people want to shoot them or trap them or, in effect, consume them. Too many ranchers live by the code of “eat what you shoot” and require their hunters to gut and bring the hogs they shoot in. As a consequence, they’ll shoot one or two a year for the table but pass on them the rest of the year because they don’t want to have to deal with processing another hog–I’ve been there, so I know how it works. What has to happen is to shoot hogs regardless of intent–take them home to process OR,let them lay for the coyotes if one prefers. Essentially, to control them we’ve got to get ruthless. I don’t think chemicals will work due to the unintended consequences as you point out.

    Just my two cents.

    • Hello Robert,

      How many cattle does a typical ranch family personally consume every year and how many more cattle than that does the typical ranch produce for sale to the commercial market? If we put these animals in the commercial food chain every ranch would trap and sell them by the millions cumulatively. Doing this is illegal: Changing the rules is the remedy.

      If we will just let common sense prevail and the markets work, the problem will disappear. Powerful interests oppose this; a gullible, inattentive public enables them with misplaced trust.

      Thanks for writing.

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