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Feral Swine

February 12, 2021
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Elena Bickell

According to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the U.S. feral swine population of 6 million causes billions of dollars in property and agricultural damage, damages to natural resources and more every year. Feral swine are among the most destructive invasive species in the United States. The bills HB508 & SB236 increase the accountability to a class E felony for any person who knowingly or recklessly releases any swine to live in the wild or possesses or transports certain live wild boar without a permit from the Department of Agriculture. According to the proposed legislation, any person who kills a feral swine outside without the consent of the landowner or not in compliance with certain requirements would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. The bills also repeal the requirements for the Department of Agriculture to promulgate rules relating to fencing and health standards for certain wild boar and swine held on private property.

Highlights

  • Feral swine are considered dangerous, destructive, and invasive species and cause tremendous damage to agriculture, livestock, natural resources, and property and can be hosts of diseases.
  • Damage to planted crops is the most widespread and costly agricultural damage that can be caused by feral swine. These costs are estimated to be around $1.5 to $2.5 billion annually.
  • The extent of the economic damages is highly correlated with feral swine population size and density. Southern counties are the most affected in Missouri.
  • Diseases of feral swine can upset the entire global pork trade network.

Limitations

  • There are multiple control techniques currently available to land managers and owners in the U.S. However, no single method can have a significant, long-term effect on feral swine populations across large tracts of land or on a national scale.
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