Farm Bureau declares support for feral hog poisoning,
In February, after Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller championed the sale of a poison to hasten what he called the “feral hog apocalypse,” he was met with opposition from hunters and environmentalists.
Now an important ally has presented itself.
A Texas Farm Bureau official Tuesday asked lawmakers not to slow down the rollout of Kaput, a poison meant to kill the destructive hogs, despite concerns from hunters, veterinarians and environmentalists opposed to its sale.
The animals make roads unsafe and spread disease, Tracy Tomascik, associate director for regulatory affairs at the Texas Farm Bureau, told the House Committee on Public Health.
“This product is a step in the right direction to controlling that population,” Tomascik said.
Tomascik’s comments came as the committee took testimony Tuesday evening on a measure filed by state Rep. Lynn Stucky, R-Sanger, that proposes studying the poison before it is used.
The feral hogs cause millions of dollars in damage in the state annually.
In February, Miller announced that he had approved Kaput Feral Hog Lure for licensed statewide use. The product is bait food laced with warfarin, used as a blood thinner for humans but lethal in hogs.
Stucky’s House Bill 3451 says the state may not register or otherwise approve for use in Texas a lethal pesticide, including warfarin, for feral hog control unless a study is conducted that recommends the pesticide be registered for that use.
He said no other state is using warfarin to poison hogs. Similar legislation has been filed by state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin.
“The question is not whether it’s effective in killing feral hogs, it’s whether it’s effective on other wildlife,” Stucky said.
Stucky, a veterinarian, said he has “treated countless animals for warfarin poisoning,” especially dogs that have either ingested warfarin-based rat poison or rats that have ingested the poison. He said such poisoning leads to a “slow, excruciating death” characterized by internal bleeding.
The Texas Wildlife Association, a conservation and landowner rights group, and the Texas State Rifle Association, a hunting organization, support the Stucky bill, as did veterinarians and ranch owners who testified Tuesday.
Lawmakers suggested it was premature for the Texas Agriculture Department to have registered Kaput for use in Texas.
“Poison them and who knows where they might end up — they might end up in my freezer,” state Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, said of the poisoned hogs — whose fat is supposed to turn bright blue if they have consumed Kaput, as a warning to hunters — “and I might be feeding them to my children and I might not realize it.”