Judge blocks rule change allowing feral hog poisoning


Highlights

State judge issues temporary restraining order blocking Texas Department of Agriculture rule change.

Feral hog processing plant, hunters, environmental group had asked for a halt.

Poison was intended as another option to keep destructive boars in check.

A Texas Department of Agriculture rule change that would have permitted the use of warfarin-laced bait to poison feral hogs is on hold after a state district judge in Austin issued a temporary restraining order Thursday.

Wild Boar Meats, a meat processing business, had asked District Judge Jan Soifer to suspend the emergency rules that would allow Kaput Feral Hog Bait to be sold to and used by licensed pesticide applicators.

The hogs, which number in the millions in Texas, are widely seen as a nuisance, known to wreak havoc on rural and suburban property. State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller had said the poison would expand the ways available to kill the animals.

Warfarin is used as a blood thinner in humans and as a poison for rats.

Hubbard-based Wild Boar Meats buys live and dead hogs and processes them for sale to the pet food industry. Owner Will Herring said the year-old company processed as many as 5,000 hogs in February alone.

“The problem is we haven’t discovered any way through freezing or heating to kill the warfarin in the meat of the animal,” he said. “This could potentially kill the industry. My customers want to make sure there’s no rat poison in the meat that we’re turning into pet food.”

An official with Colorado-based Genesis Laboratories, which developed Kaput, told the American-Statesman that the hog bait contains only one-fifth of the concentration found in conventional rat and mouse baits.

Texas Department of Agriculture spokesman Mark Loeffler said the emergency rules were meant as a regulatory safeguard on the product, which already has federal approval, as it hits the Texas market.

Legal briefs supporting Wild Boar Meats were filed by the Texas Hog Hunters Association and the Environmental Defense Fund.

“Spreading rat poison across Texas lands would hurt Texas hunters, Texas hunting-supply businesses, Texas feral hog meat processing businesses, Texas ranchers and the Texas environment,” said Eydin Hansen, vice president of the hog hunters association.



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