The Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller, has approved a new poison specifically intended for use against wild hogs known as Kaput Feral Hog Lure. The approval has resulted in the creation of a petition on Change.org calling for the approval to be rescinded.
As some background here, the new poison includes warfarin — often used in rat poisons, and in small doses therapeutically to prevent blood clots.
While those behind the approval say that the use of the poison for wild hog control has been adequately studied to date (for the last decade or so in the state), and that effects on other animals and people are likely to be minimal, there’s backlash now coming from hunters and environmentalists.
The Vice President of the Texas Hog Hunters Association, Eydin Hansen, commented: “We don’t think poison is the way to go.” Noting his participation in wild hog hunting, he stated: “It’s a way to feed your family.”
Which is no doubt what a lot of the backlash is related to — if someone shots a hog and intends to eat it how will they knew for sure what levels of residual poison may be in the meat (from earlier, non-lethal exposures)?
“If this hog is poisoned, do I want to feed it to my family? I can tell you, I don’t.”
Other backlash is coming from environmentalists concerned about the effects on other wild animals and on whole food chains.
Hansen continued: “If a hog dies, what eats it? Coyotes, buzzards… We’re gonna affect possibly the whole ecosystem.”
The company behind the poison claims that the bait station that it designed will prevent unwanted exposure to most other wildlife. Hansen noted though: “I personally don’t think it’s going to work.”
To provide a counterpoint to the information above, here’s an excerpt from an email sent by the Texas Agriculture Commissioner’s Office to CBS11:
“The product may be only bought and used by licensed pesticide applicators when dispensed in specially-designed hog feeders that have weighted lids that only open from the bottom, making it difficult for other animals to be exposed to the bait.”
“…Warfarin at 0.005 percent as a feral hog toxicant has been shown to have a low level of residue in hog meat, especially in muscle tissue, which is what humans typically consume. One person would have to eat 2.2 lbs of hog liver–where the warfarin is most concentrated in the body–to achieve the same exposure as a human would receive in one therapeutic dose of warfarin (current therapeutic levels range from 2 to 10 mg daily). Warfarin metabolizes and exits the body fairly quickly, so a hog that was trapped and fed for several days prior to processing would most likely not have any warfarin present at the time of slaughter.”
“In addition, hogs who have consumed the warfarin bait will have blue dye present in the fatty tissues as soon as 24 hours after ingestion. The dye builds up in the fatty tissue, so the more bait the hog has consumed, the brighter blue the tissues will be, signaling hunters that this hog has ingested the bait. Blue dye is present in the fat directly underneath the skin as well as in the fat deposits surrounding organs and in the aforementioned liver. All will take on the characteristic blue tint of the dye, which serves as a visual indicator of bait ingestion.”
Personally I’m skeptical of the take on the situation provided by the Texas Agriculture Commissioner’s Office… But feel free to draw your own conclusions.