Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller approved the use of a pesticide to combat the rising number of feral hogs in the state. The limited-use poison became a hot button issue last year.
Miller's office announced the decision on Tuesday through a press release. He said he hopes the poison will bring about a "feral hog apocalypse." Officially called Kaput Feral Hog Lure, many hope the poison helps salvage an ecosystem ravaged by feral hogs.
But others aren't so sure using poison is the right answer. In fact, the Texas Hog Hunters Association created a petition against the use of the pesticide. So far, more than 3,600 people signed the petition.
The organization's primary concern revolves around the safety of the meat. The organization calls Miller's choice a "bad decision" that "could likely contaminate humans who unknowingly process and eat feral hogs." Meanwhile, others fear the poison may unintentionally hurt animals in Texas' natural ecosystem.
But Miller's office says the poison in question should be safe. Australia uses warfarin (the actual name of the poison), while Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service also approved the method.
Either way, the feral hog situation in Texas continues to worsen. The state estimates more than 2 million hogs occupy 230 of Texas' 254 counties. Those numbers continue to grow at an alarming rate. Since their proliferation, hunters have to kill 7 out of 10 hogs just to maintain the current level.
And their foraging wreaks havoc on Texas' farming community. Hogs caused at least $52 million in damage to farms across the state, according to Miller's office.
The feral hogs aren't native to Texas. But they reproduce at a shockingly fast pace, and that ultimately hurts plants and animals native to the area. Other naturally occurring flora and fauna must compete with the hogs for food, which generally doesn't end well.
So while the use of poison seems dire, some see it as a last resort. Hunters plan on staying vigilant to make sure it doesn't ultimately hurt people and animals more. The hog poison should be available through licensed applicators later this year.
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