Public Policy Essay (the Hog Poisoning)

My topic for this policy essay is the hog poisoning mentioned in the week 11 podcast approximately 11 minutes in. This topic is an important issue because of the severe economic and social havoc these wild hogs bring. It is relevant specifically to Texas because of the large number of these beasts and the ineffective methods of thinning their numbers. The hog numbers in Texas have grown too large, the economic problems this infestation is creating needs addressing; the new poison that Sid Miller is proposing would cull the population. Although the hogs killed by this poison aren’t safe to eat and need special disposal there is enough warning on the packaging that ensures the safe handling of these carcasses.

There are currently 1.5 million hogs in Texas, this means that there is an overpopulation of hogs in the state. The hogs are tearing up crops and competing with the native wildlife for limited resources in the wild. Because they live just about everywhere in Texas the damage they cause is reason for serious concern. They are also capable of reproducing very rapidly taking about 3.5 months for pregnant sows to give birth, the average litter size is 5. Their destructive nature causes $50 million worth of damage to crops alone. They also can potentially infect domestic pigs and in some extreme cases they have been said to alter the landscape around them digging for food. Their size and aggression is also cause for concern as they are very dangerous to humans and the native wildlife in the state. Something must be done to control the hog infestation in Texas.

These hogs are very hardy and don’t have many predators due to their tough hide meaning that alternative methods are needed to deal with them. The poison proposed by Ag Commissioner Sid Miller would go a great distance in thinning the feral hog numbers. This poison works effectively on the hogs by starving them of oxygen thus making them uncoordinated then pass out before eventually dying, the symptoms resemble those of carbon dioxide poisoning. The entire process only takes about 90 minutes. This is a fairly humane way of putting down the hogs compared to other methods like tannerite. This poison in conjunction with continued hunting would be the most cost efficient option for the state.

An argument against the poison is that the methods for disposing of the affected hogs are too difficult for the average Texan. The poison comes with a label that contains information on how to deal with the deceased hogs. I believe the government should provide some sort of financial restitution to those that place the poison on their lands just to help cover the price of disposal as it requires that all dead hogs be buried 16 inches. Another protest against the poison is the potential for the poisoned hogs to be eaten after teach. Due to the chemicals in the poison the hog meat actually takes a blue color so distinguishing bad meat shouldn’t be too difficult. 

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