I need to stay on the subject of feral hogs this week to take note of the animal rights folks attempt to derail the Texas Department of Agricultures Get the Hog Outta Texas campaign. Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples recently announced a county grant program to control feral hogs, which are rapidly becoming Texas number one pest problem. Under the pretense of an effort to reduce cruelty to animals in Texas, some want to stop the program.
In a blog post title Hog Out is Out of Line on the Care2 blog, Staples was urged to consider more humane means of dealing with this porcine menace. Im sitting here scratching my head, trying to figure out what form that might take. Anyone out there know of a place we could keep 2 million wild hogs? How about petting zoos? No, scratch that, kids would lose fingers. Maybe a traditional zoo would work, though I cant imagine anyone wanting to view them in their natural habitat, which is about anywhere they want to be. They are too wild to be companion pigs, guard pigs, drug sniffing pigs or seeing-eye pigs. I cant come up with anything. Any help out there?
It will be interesting to see if feral hogs become poster pigs for the animal rights movements perceived notion of cruelty to animals in Texas. They are poor choice as a symbol for any movement, even one as misguided as this. These animals are ugly, mean, destructive, wild, and carry diseases with the potential to devastate wildlife and livestock populations. They have been known to attack people and cause traffic accidents. They are also very cunning.
I use the word cunning instead of smart. Dont misunderstand. They arent studying for algebra tests, but they are very adept at escaping detection and fleeing from efforts to control them. They are also, apparently, quite amorous. They breed like rabbits.
Controlling feral hogs is absolutely essential. The damage they do to agriculture and increasingly, many urban areas, is costly. Their occasional clashes with people can be dangerous. No method of reducing their numbers will be easy, but weve got to start somewhere.
Solutions are like noses. Everybody has one. I suspect this is one of those cases where its someone elses problem, so its really not that important.
I admit it. Im a people first kind of guy. This is not about cruelty to animals in Texas or anywhere else. This is about a serious problem with only one solution. It should be done as humanely as possible. But it has to be done.