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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Suppression of Feral Hogs Growing in Urgency


The problem of African swine fever in Europe and Asia resulting in extensive losses in addition to disruption in trade creates a greater urgency to eradicate feral hogs in the U.S.  The growing range of feral hogs is indicated in the distribution over time prepared by USDA.


Since hogs are essentially nocturnal, organized hunting at the present level will not materially reduce numbers.  Ironically hunters have contributed to the problem by transporting feral hogs from their location in the Gulf states to as far north as Canada.


Tony DeNicola, a trained and experienced wildlife biologist, has developed the “Pig Brig” a demountable circular trap approximately 30 foot in diameter which can ensnare a complete sounder of up to 25 hogs, that are then easy to kill. 


DeNicola has demonstrated the efficiency of his “Pig Brig” that can be deployed for a cost of approximately $1,500.  The restraint to more extensive use will obviously be the determination of farmers to rid their lands of feral hogs that are responsible for extensive damage.


The cost of an outbreak of African swine fever in the U.S. will exceed billions both in direct losses, compensation, disruption in trade, job losses, and a rise in the price of pork and other competing proteins.  The USDA should use funds made available by Congress and mount a concerted campaign to initially suppress and hopefully eliminate feral hogs that represent an ongoing danger to the pork industry. Applying the trap-and-shoot approach developed by DeNicola combined with subsidised traps and a Federala bounty, the U.S. could reduce the population of feral hogs estimated at over 12 million.


Unless we address this issue aggressively we will be faced with the prospect of endemic ASF, following introduction of infection. Based on the experience of Germany we would be faced with the loss of export markets, huge expenditure to control the disease in commercial farms and ultimately eradication of feral hogs. Best to take the initiative a rid the nation of these pest animals now.

Copyright © 2021 Simon M. Shane