You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

PolitiFact: No published study of new feral hog killer, yet


A Texas meat processor who questions a government-approved bait that kills feral hogs charges there’s no public research on the product.

Will Herring, owner of the Hubbard-based Wild Boar Meat Company, which makes hog meat into pet food, has said he fears the product’s active ingredient — warfarin, long known as a rat poison and prescribed to humans as a blood thinner — will damage his business.

Also, Herring said, “There’s not one public study, and by public study I mean a study available to the public, that has looked at using the product Kaput to poison feral hogs.”

Herring persuaded a state district judge to issue a temporary order putting a hold on state rules approving Kaput’s use by state-licensed pesticide applicators. State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, has filed a bill barring the state from registering any lethal pesticide, including warfarin, for feral hog control unless a state agency or university performs and publishes a scientific study weighing the pesticide’s environmental and economic effects.

Both moves happened after Sid Miller, the state agriculture commissioner, announced the Texas Department of Agriculture would issue rules limiting Kaput’s sale and use to licensed individuals.

We decided to put Herring’s statement to the Texas Truth-O-Meter.

When we inquired, the state Agriculture Department emailed us a spreadsheet indicating that Colorado-based Scimetrics, the company poised to vend Kaput, fielded $136,854 in research grants from the Agriculture Department from 2013 into 2017. All told in 2016-17, the agency awarded $802,500 to fight feral hogs; that counts funds awarded to counties, universities and other agencies.

We asked Herring how he reached his conclusion about no public studies. He told us that he didn’t find specific studies of the product in online searches nor, he said, did Genesis Laboratories, the Colorado-based company that developed the product, provide a study at his firm’s inquiry.

We also reached Richard Poché, Genesis Labs’ president, who conceded that no Kaput study has been formally published.

He said, though, the company completed a study in Texas in 2015 submitted under the title “Field efficacy of a warfarin bait used to control feral hog populations” for consideration by the Wildlife Society Bulletin, which describes itself as a journal for wildlife practitioners that effectively integrates cutting-edge science with management and conservation.

The bulletin’s editor, Kansas State University’s David Haukos, confirmed that the study was submitted and is being reviewed for possible publication.

Poché said the 2015 study was followed by another in 2016 with a third study under way in 2017, each one based on feeding the Kaput product to feral hogs. Both of the first two studies, he said, decimated exposed hog populations in North Texas study areas; he noted that the bait uses only one-fifth of the warfarin found in conventional rat and mouse baits.

We asked for a copy of the 2015 study. Poché said that it remains “confidential business information,” and that releasing it before publication would leave his company with no control of where it ends up.

Poché otherwise provided two of his own March 2017 PowerPoint presentations on Kaput.

“Bait was applied in modified commercial feeders with heavy lids,” one presentation says at one point. “Baiting initiated on June 1 and terminated June 30, 2015. After the 30-day exposure period efficacy on the 5-km treatment plot baited with 0.005% warfarin was 100%, 98.6%, and 97.8% using radio-tracking, trail camera images, and bait consumption. Efficacy on the 0.01% warfarin bait plot was not as effective. Ninety-seven non-target searches were conducted during the treatment and post-treatment phases to examine for mortality, for which none were found,” an indication other animals weren’t killed by the bait.”

The text closes: “The low warfarin concentrate bait proved effective in eliminating wild hogs while posing minimal exposure to non-target wildlife.”

Poché, asked if independent research makes sense before Kaput goes commercial, emailed: “Not necessary. We do research under what is called Good Laboratory Practices, which is required by the EPA. No one can match the quality and integrity of the work.” According to an EPA web page, the agency conducts audits to ensure companies developing pesticide products comply with those practices.

At the state Agriculture Department, spokeswoman Jennifer Dorsett gave us a document listing a dozen reports on poisoning feral hogs, issued from 1987 through 2002, including seven titles specifying “warfarin.” Dorsett said the agency’s toxicologist, Michael Hare, used the reports as references in evaluating Kaput as a state limited-use pesticide.

Our ruling:

Herring said there’s no public study of Kaput, the product that might soon be available in Texas to attack feral hogs.

There’s no public study of that EPA-registered product, we confirmed. But a 2015 study submitted to a science journal would become public if it’s accepted for publication. Also, the effects on feral hogs of warfarin, Kaput’s active ingredient, has been explored in other published studies.

We rate this statement Mostly True.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Parents, special needs children left floundering after Medicaid cuts
Parents, special needs children left floundering after Medicaid cuts

Stacey English has modest desires for her 7-year-old daughter Addison: Be able to eat without gagging and move both her arms. But since Addison’s occupational therapist went out of business this winter, the child with a rare genetic disorder has regressed in her fight to do even that much. “I don’t know where to go from here,&rdquo...
Looking for a two-bedroom apartment here? You need to make $23 an hour
Looking for a two-bedroom apartment here? You need to make $23 an hour

Renters must earn at least $22.98 an hour — more than three times the minimum wage — to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment in the Austin area, a recent report reveals. The report, released this month by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, studied the wages needed to afford rental housing throughout the country and uncovered broad...
Hutto files 2 lawsuits after refusing to release city manager records
Hutto files 2 lawsuits after refusing to release city manager records

The city of Hutto is suing the Texas attorney general over the state’s ruling that the town has to release some documents concerning its city manager, Odis Jones. The records were requested by or related to one of three fired female city employees who made discrimination allegations against Jones in March, said the city’s attorney, Michael...
Same tolls, new operators for southern stretch of Texas 130 tollway
Same tolls, new operators for southern stretch of Texas 130 tollway

After more than a year in bankruptcy, the company operating the southern end of the Texas 130 tollway emerged Wednesday under new ownership and new management, shedding about $1.4 billion in debt in what its leadership said makes the nation’s fastest highway more stable. Toll rates won’t be affected. The 41-mile stretch of Texas 130 from...
STONEWALL RALLY: Over 200 celebrate, stand up for LGBT rights in front of Capitol
STONEWALL RALLY: Over 200 celebrate, stand up for LGBT rights in front of Capitol

10 p.m. update: More than 200 people gathered on the steps of the state Capitol to speak up for LGBT rights during the annual Stonewall Celebration and Rally on Wednesday evening.  The event had a series of guest speakers including Miss Austin Pride Nadine Hughes and event organizer Paul Huddleston, who called on the LGBT community and its...
More Stories