2017-04-20 / General Stories

Feral Hog Legislation

Focus on proven eradication methods that will protect Texas wildlife, livestock and hunters

State Reps. John Cyrier (R-Lockhart) and Lynn Stucky (R-Sanger) have filed legislation to halt the controversial decision by Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Sid Miller approving a lethal poison for feral hog control, focusing instead on proven eradication techniques now in use while protecting other wildlife, livestock and hunters.

“Feral hogs destroy crops and property, and threaten livestock and other wildlife. Some estimates of the damage they cause in Texas range as high as $750 million every year. We need responsible policies that address this problem with proven methods,” said Cyrier.

In February, Miller approved the use of warfarin, an anticoagulant similar to rat poison, for hog control. However, concerns exist on the damage its widespread use may cause to Texas wildlife or hunters who unknowingly process poisoned animals for consumption.

House Bill 3451 by Stucky would halt that decision and require that any lethal poison approved for feral hog control first undergo scientific study by a state agency or university, with controlled field trials and an assessment of side effects on other wildlife.

A veterinarian for 34 years, Stucky is not convinced that warfarin is an effective tool for feral hog management, and is concerned about adverse effects on other wildlife.

“Whenever lethal toxicants are approved for use in wildlife management, we have an obligation to make sure they will not cause harm to other animals or people. That’s just basic common sense,” said Stucky.

Cyrier and three other representatives joint authored the bill with Stucky, and 119 house members have joined the legislation as co-authors as of April 3. The bill received committee approval on March 30 and will next move to the full House for consideration.

Cyrier separately filed a budget rider to preserve the county partnerships in the state’s eradication program. That rider was accepted by the Appropriations Committee for inclusion in the House’s state budget, which the full House will consider later this week.

“Our state has effectively partnered with counties, including counties in my district, to control the feral hog problem. We need to put funds toward proven programs that get results and broaden the number of people and agencies working together to solve this problem,” said Cyrier, who has lethally eradicated numerous feral hogs that were causing damage to his Central Texas ranch.

Both the House and Senate versions of the state budget under consideration have removed the feral hog eradication program from the Texas Department of Agriculture and placed it under the oversight of the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, which has a proven track record of delivering agricultural services and educational programs throughout Texas.

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