Lawmakers discuss using poison to kill off wild hogs
Toxin’s unintended effects concern commission
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.