Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Local News

June 24, 2014

FARM & RANCH: Killing hogs with bacon?

A preservative used to cure bacon tested as feral hog poison

By JANET McCONNAUGHEY

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A preservative used to cure bacon is being tested as poison for the nation’s estimated 5 million feral hogs.

Descendants of both escaped domestic pigs and imported Eurasian boars, the swine cost the U.S. about $1.5 billion a year — including $800 million in damage to farms nationwide.

Hunting and trapping won’t do the trick for these big, wildly prolific animals. So, the U.S. Department of Agriculture kicked off a $20 million program this year to control feral swine, which have spread from 17 states in 1982 to 39 now.

Sodium nitrite is far more toxic to pigs than people and is used in Australia and New Zealand to kill feral swine. USDA scientists say it may be the best solution in the U.S., but they’re not yet ready to ask for federal approval as pig poison.

Vance Taylor of Brooksville, Mississippi, has seen up to 50 hogs in a field at once. He estimates the animals cost him 40 to 60 acres of corn and soybeans a year. They once rooted up about 170 acres of sprouting corn; they trample ripe corn, taking a few bites from each ear.

“It looks like a bulldozer has been through your field,” he said. To minimize damage, he hires a hunter and sometimes even heaps corn away from his fields so they’ll eat there.

Males average 130 to 150 pounds but can range up to 250, and hogs snarf down just about anything: peanuts, potatoes, piles of just-harvested almonds. Rooting for grubs and worms leaves lawns, levees, wetlands and prairies looking like they’ve been attacked by packs of rototillers gone wild. Swine compete with turkey and deer for acorns, and also eat eggs and fawns.

Nor is damage limited to their eating habits. Feral pigs’ feces were among likely sources of E. coli that tainted fresh California spinach in 2006, killing three people and sickening 200.

Text Only
Local News
Featured Ads
Mineral Wells Index


Click on a photo to visit our SmugMug page

Front page
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Must Read