The state of Michigan has declared war on feral swine. I agree that feral swine are a serious problem unless one gets in my cross hairs in Missouri and I don’t flinch. (Then it becomes a problem of freezer space.) In Kansas they have to be attacking or on your own property. In Michigan, they can also be in Farmer Fred’s hog pens because the DNR has declared all heritage breeds of swine to be invasive species. Evidently there are some hybrids on corporate farms that do not have the “characteristics” of feral swine.
I live in Kansas were the former Secretary of Wildlife and Parks once said that lions do not exist in Kansas and it is illegal to hunt them. The legislature, at the behest of KDWP decided that the feral among the swine can only be hunted by government employees—sort of like humans. If they enter upon your property and present a danger you can add them to the freezer. In Missouri it is incumbent on hunters to take them out. In both of these states, the difference between feral and domestic stock is simple—the domestic stock are penned.
The Michigan solution is to eradicate the breeds which are invasive. So they are going onto farms and ordering the destruction of entire herds. They also have some criminal penalties for harboring invasive species. Exempted from the destruction order are some “hybrid” stock on corporate farms. In my world of behavior rather than appearance as the definition of feral, I would guess that the hybrids, if turned loose, would be as destructive as the members of heritage breeds wandering around there.
My guess is that there are several consequences not thought of:
- The destruction of livestock in a situation other than a contagious disease is a Fifth Amendment taking. Where is the compensation? This is the destruction of livelihood of small farmers. The state will ultimately pick up the costs of the federal lawsuits against the director.
- The advantages of lean pork will disappear as the hybrids will suffer the same fate as factory farm turkeys (the legs are white meat) and cattle (more marbling than meat).
- Barbecue will become expensive. This is my bias from living close to five decades in the Kansas City area.
- The problem will not be solved.
Back in my grandfather’s day in Mountain Time Nebraska the Patrons of Husbandry would have objected both vocally and with their double barreled smooth bores. We live in a more civilized world now, but civilization is only a veneer.
The policy can come back to haunt the urban folks. Carried to its logical conclusion a feral canine problem could lead to the destruction of Fluffy because of her resemblance to the feral pack in the next town.