Farm Bureau de­clares sup­port for feral hog poi­son­ing,

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Asher Price ash­er­price@states­man.com Con­tact Asher Price at 512445-3643. Twit­ter: @ash­er­price

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.”

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