Law­mak­ers dis­cuss us­ing poi­son to kill off wild hogs

Toxin’s un­in­tended ef­fects con­cern com­mis­sion

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES - JOHN MORITZ

A new tac­tic for get­ting rid of wild hogs — killing them en masse with a vari­ant of rat poi­son — was the sub­ject of dis­cus­sion for a group of law­mak­ers Thurs­day.

A joint meet­ing of the House and Se­nate Com­mit­tees on Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment heard a pitch from the mak­ers of Ka­put Feral Hog Bait about us­ing the toxic prod­uct to erad­i­cate the state’s in­va­sive hog pop­u­la­tion. Ka­put bait uses war­farin, an an­ti­co­ag­u­lant with medic­i­nal pur­poses that’s also used in rat poi­son.

The law­mak­ers on the com­mit­tee did not take any vote or other ac­tion re­gard­ing the prod­uct, but some ques­tioned whether it was wise to be­gin us­ing the toxin on a wild pop­u­la­tion.

Those concerns were raised by the Arkansas Game and Fish Com­mis­sion, whose rep­re­sen­ta­tives said the ef­fect of the toxin spread­ing through the en­vi­ron­ment and to hu­mans is still un­clear.

Af­ter field test­ing was done on Ka­put Feral Hog Bait in Texas, the fed­eral En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency reg­is­tered the prod­uct ear­lier this year.

Soon af­ter, how­ever, a Texas meat sup­plier that sells wild boar suc­cess­fully sued to tem­po­rar­ily halt Arkansas’ neigh­bor from au­tho­riz­ing limited use of the poi­son, ac­cord­ing to news re­ports.

The As­so­ci­a­tion of Fish and Wildlife Agen­cies also has re­quested that the EPA can­cel its reg­is­tra­tion of the prod­uct un­til fur­ther test­ing is done, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter that Arkansas Game and Fish Com­mis­sion Di­rec­tor Jeff Crow sent to the com­mit­tee.

Richard Poche, the pres­i­dent of Sci­met­rics Limited Corp., the Colorado-based man­u­fac­turer of the poi­son bait, said hunters and con­sumers should not have to worry about tainted meat.

That’s be­cause hogs that con­sume the poi­sonous pel­lets also are af­fected by a dye that turns their meat blue within hours.

Fed­eral rules also re­quire that the pel­lets be dis­pensed from spe­cial­ized bait sta­tions that are dif­fi­cult for other an­i­mals to feed from, Poche said.

A slide show he pre­sented to the com­mit­tee fea­tured im­ages of hogs root­ing around in the soil and caus­ing dam­age to wildlife habi­tat and pri­vate land.

Crow es­ti­mated the pop­u­la­tion of wild hogs, which are not na­tive to Arkansas, is around 250,000 in the state.

While the Arkansas Game and Fish Com­mis­sion is not op­posed to us­ing poi­son to kill off hogs, Crow’s let­ter re­quested to hold off on li­cens­ing Ka­put bait, or hav­ing the state Plant Board is­sue a re­stricted li­cens­ing, un­til the se­condary ef­fects are known.

Those ef­fects may in­clude harm­ing the state’s bear pop­u­la­tion, as well as cre­at­ing a “per­ceived” dan­ger around eat­ing wild boar, said Jennifer Bal­lard, the state wildlife vet­eri­nar­ian.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.