Michigan Feral Swine Saga Not Over

On March 21, 2014, the Marquette (Mich.) Circuit Court issued a ruling overturning the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) Invasive Species Order (ISO) declaring wild hogs invasive.  In short, the judge overturned the ISO and the DNR's Declaratory Ruling (which sought to clarify how the DNR would determine which pigs were invasive) stating that they are arbitrary and capricious and an illegal taking not meeting constitutional standards.
The judge ordered a stay of the ruling expecting the State to file an appeal.
Following the ruling of the Marquette Circuit Court , MUCC along with agricultural and conservation leaders across the state, are calling on Governor Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette to pursue an appeal of this ruling. Below is an excerpt of a joint letter on its way to the Governor:
"... If it stands, this ruling will put Michigan’s agriculture sector at risk of devastating economic losses. It will also create serious problems for our natural resources and wildlife and put the health and property of Michigan residents in danger.
The DNR invasive species order targets non-native species such as the Eurasian and Russian wild boar and crosses produced from these breeds. These non-native hogs are fast-breeding, voracious and destructive animals with no natural predators in Michigan. They destroy important crops, endanger livestock, threaten our wildlife and natural resources, and cause billions of dollars in damages to property.
They also carry diseases that can wipe out livestock and our natural wildlife, such as pseudorabies and bovine tuberculosis, as well as harmful bacteria such as brucellosis that can seriously sicken human beings.
The DNR invasive species order is critical to protecting Michigan’s natural resources and economy from a species that causes serious harm to our land and water, as well to our agriculture industry. Just as we work tooth and nail to stop Asian carp and zebra mussels from entering our lakes and rivers, we should stop invasive swine from causing further damage to our land and economy. Furthermore, allowing this ruling to stand could have lasting implications on the ability of the DNR to regulate invasive species in the future.
We thank you for your consideration and strongly urge you to pursue an appeal of the Marquette Circuit Court decision."
Proponents of game ranches that have been embroiled in this legal battle with the State of Michigan over the ISO and a few select Michigan legislators are calling on the DNR to repeal the ISO completely. But if that happens, Michigan has no other way to effectively regulate or control facilities with these wild boars, leaving our natural resources and agricultural industry at risk.
Representative Greg MacMaster's has gone as far as to try and grant wild boar born in Michigan "citizenship"--HB 5432 would deem any swine born in Michigan or legally imported to Michigan as "native", meaning that they could only be identified as livestock and could not be considered invasive species. This is like saying Asian carp are fine, as long as they were born here!
MUCC's members feel strongly about the prevention and eradication of feral swine on the landscape of Michigan and have stood by the Invasive Species Order and we will continue to fight to protect our natural resources from invasive species.

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