Pigs are in danger of being poisoned by our own government. These highly intelligent animals are considered pests by some because they eat crops and damage farm property. Many of these so-called feral pigs have escaped from inhumane conditions on factory farms, where they're often forced to live in tiny gestation crates, unable to even turn around.
Right now, it's illegal to poison wild pigs in the United States. But the U.S.D.A is allegedly trying to change that. Their Wildlife Services branch reportedly kills up to 33,000 pigs a year using methods like hunting and trapping. Now, they're testing sodium nitrate, a preservative used to cure bacon, as a poison to kill the nation's estimated 5 million wild hogs. Wildlife services is a government agency that we've done many exposés on. Critics say they should be disbanded.
In a statement, Wildlife Services told us:
As part of the APHIS mission to protect the health, welfare, and value of American agriculture and natural resources, the APHIS National Feral Swine Damage Management Program aims to prevent the further spread of feral swine, as well as to reduce their populations, damage, and disease risks.Feral swine are an invasive species that causes an estimated $1.5 billion in damage and control costs every year, a cost that will continue to climb with increasing population and range expansion. This invasive species poses threats to human health and safety, as well as to property, agriculture, and natural resources. Feral swine are known carriers of dozens of diseases that can affect people, domestic animals, and wildlife. The diseases they carry can impact water resources for humans and animals. Executive Order 13112 on Invasive Species (Section 2) clearly directs Federal agencies to control invasive species and prevent their spread. A trap-release program for an invasive species would contradict that. Although we understand that many people object to the use of lethal control, wildlife management professionals agree that it can be an essential and responsible part of wildlife management.Fertility control could become a complementary tool, not an alternative, to current invasive species management methods. No contraceptive is currently available for use with feral swine. Even if infertile, the existing population would continue to threaten people, wildlife, and domestic animals with disease and cause damage.WS scientists and partners are developing and evaluating formulations of sodium nitrite as a toxicant for feral swine.Once a feral swine toxicant is identified, the registration process takes approximately 5 years and would be used only when strategies are developed to safely and effectively deliver toxicant baits to feral swine while limiting exposure to other species.This invasive species poses threats to agriculture and human health, as well as to property and natural resources.o Feral swine are known potential carriers of dozens of diseases that can affect people, domestic animals, and wildlife.o The diseases they carry can impact water resources for humans and animals. o Feral swine directly damage crops of all kinds, from Midwestern corn and soybeans to sugar cane, peanuts and field crops. o They can carry diseases to livestock and have depredated young animals. o Their characteristic rooting and wallowing damages natural resources, including those used by native waterfowl, as well as archeological and recreational lands.o They compete for food with native wildlife, such as deer, and consume the eggs of ground-nesting birds and endangered species, such as sea turtles.
Jane speaks to Paul Shapiro, President of the Humane Society of the United States, about why poisoning pigs would be inhumane, and could be dangerous for other animals and even humans.