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Sporting Swine—Is that All Folks?

March 30th, 2012

You have likely seen the latest frenzy of good and bad news reports, blog postings, and viral media swirling on the impending deadline of April 1 for people who own certain breeds of wild hogs (wild boars, sporting swine, Russians, Eurasians, etc.) here in Michigan. We want to set the record straight on some of the misleading information and assure the public that this date did not just drop out of the sky last month like some might think.

This has been a work in progress for at least the last 5 years and through that time, there has been broad support from the hunting, conservation and agricultural communities to do SOMETHING.  MUCC has been engaged the whole time and we will share how.

April 1, 2012 is the date that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources agreed to begin enforcing the December 2010 Invasive Species Order (ISO–made effective on October 9, 2011) that declares all boars with certain characteristics illegal to own in Michigan. This will affect not only high fence hunting operations that own “sporting swine” breeds, but also those breeders who raise swine for these operations as well as for meat and other purposes.  This order, as we will go on to explain, was not about big agriculture vs. small agriculture, or even about the high fence “hunting” industry. This was about certain kinds of pigs, not native to Michigan, which can do real physical and economic damage to our natural and agricultural resources. Just like the Asian carp is a certain kind of fish, the bad kind that could impact our fishing, boating, and tourism industries, and one we call invasive.

In terms of the impending deadline: The DNR has assured us that you will not see Conservation Officers storming the fences with guns blazing come April 2nd. They plan to work with owners and operators towards voluntary compliance first, and will deal with the most difficult folks through the court system as needed.

Some facilities have already sold their wild boars out of state for very good money; others have depopulated through their typical hunts. There are at least 5 facilities and groups suing the DNR over the ISO, with more lawsuits likely to follow.

So to turn the phrase of Porky the Pig,  “Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-… That’s NOT all, folks.” We are sure of it. But hopefully, good policy and protection of our natural and agricultural resources will win the day.

Click here to learn more:

Why Does MUCC Care About Wild Pigs?

Timeline of the Swine Saga

  • Rork

    Links at bottom need a tweak.
    I was a bit shocked they can move these animals across state lines. Thanks for the link to the ruling. It was interesting.

    I would like to learn how easily people can move deer (or elk) around.

    • Amy Trotter

      Links fixed, you got here before I could get them up!

      Importation of live deer/elk is not allowed in Michigan (it is under a moratorium), transport within and out of state is a different story that I”ll have to look into.

    • Mianimalcontrol

      You cant move them across state lines and all deer and elk cannot leave the propery alive.

  • Pingback: Michigan United Conservation Clubs » TIMELINE OF THE SWINE SAGA

  • Pingback: Michigan United Conservation Clubs » Why Does MUCC Care About Wild Pigs?

  • billy

    this farm needs to have ppl lock arms when the DNR show up and stand thier ground!!

  • John Boy

    The whole “feral swine” in MI is a farce. I searched everywhere a “sighting” was reported and found zero. The only ones I ever found were on ranches and they wanted big bucks to shoot one.

  • Kim Hartke

    Do you care nothing for the businesses that are being destroyed? Farms, butcher shops, taxidermy shops, agri-tourism and travel lodging to name a few. The original DNR document excluded domesticated pigs, and yet the first thing they are doing is going after domesticated pigs! Feral pigs are pigs living outside the husbandry of humans. This ruling is an injustice and an outrage. The pigs you and DNR think are fair game are harvested for culinary purposes, and are vastly superior in nutritional value for human consumption.

    Hunters can take care of the pigs that have gone feral, and are doing so.

    I only wish conservationists cared about eating healthy and from non-polluting farms. We need to get you into the local food movement. Now that is true conservation!

    See our press release today:

    • Anonymous

      MUCC is a political group, not conservationists.

      • Powderburner56

        More like political corruptionists.

  • Marine

    Thanks for your work on this. Hope you (we) can be as successful with Asian Carp!

  • Tracey3

    Just Another way big brother controls the people. Stay out of our business!

  • HockeyDave

    Your support for this missguided law is the reason I canceled my MUCC subscription. I’ve been monitoring statewide sightings of feral hogs since 2005 and they remain feww and far between. if this prblem was as bad as is alleged then there would be pork hanging on every buckpole in the state. This is a poorly disguised attack on high fence ranches. The DNR ios spread too thin to do their job as it is. Now we have them chasing pigs and harassing legitmate Michigan businesses who have a positive effect on the dollars they bring into other businesses in their communities. Shame on thr MUCC and those in Lansing whose choose to perpetuate this Michigan feral pig invasion myth.

  • Steven-nucore

    Is Government getting too big? Are they now the invasive species? Let’s all come together and not allow the government to grow out of control. Just look around and view the damage that they cause… kind of makes the pig issue not that important. Let’s do something about the feral goverment and its out of control department growth and destruction.

    • Artsale

      YES! The DNR and Government ARE the invasive species!!

  • Larrysitten

    invasive species are ruining our tourism which Michigan cannot afford…once the damge is done it will be permanent

    • Anonymous

      Show us how.

  • KitchenKop

    I don’t understand why you are going after certain types of pigs in Michigan and therefore putting solid farms out of business.

    Just because this pig is “not native”? Is every Michigan farm animal “native” to the state?!

    Because they can “do real physical and economic damage to our natural and agricultural resources” – how can a fenced in pig on a farm do such damage?

    It isn’t accurate to compare pigs on a farm to carp that can’t be contained.

    It makes no sense.

    Kelly Moeggenborg
    West Michigan resident

    • Artsale

      Kelly, It didn’t make any sense to me about my state destroying small businesses ether. Please read “Behind the Green Mask” or research “UN Agenda 21″ or search what they did in Georgia to a chicken farmer.

  • Melissa Boersma

    Why attack family farms, though? Their pigs aren’t carousing around the neighborhoods and forests wrecking havoc. These are responsible, small, family farms trying to not only make a living but provide consumers with quality, naturally-raised food. The whole “invasive” species thing is laughable….pretty sure any animal would fall into that category, no? If farmers are being responsible with their care for and control of these species, why not let them keep their farm animals?

    While the government has it’s roles, their part in controlling what we can eat/raise should not be one of them!

    Melissa Boersma
    Resident of the greater Grand Rapids, MI area

  • April Collins

    Hello Big government. The government has the right to do anything the people don’t stop it from doing. Keep up the lawsuits, what an unjust law!!!

  • Guest

    Wow, Michigan is really looking to put small farmers out of business, aren’t they. This is an extremely one-sided take on this subject and based on subjective opinion and not legitimate evidence. It’s always interesting to see what pet projects government can distort to make them seem palatable to the general public. Sorry, MUCC, but I’m on the side of the pig farmers, and you’re overstepping your boundaries.

  • Debi c

    This ruling is ridiculous. The government should not profile farmed pigs and condemn them for a “feral” trait or two. The one thing worse than invasive species, in my opinion, is invasive government.

  • J-Boogie

    Absolute craziness. What a travesty this is for the small farmers raising pastured hogs in Michigan. I’m a former Grand Rapids resident and this is really disappointing. I hope the people of Michigan continue to fight this! If you give them an inch, you can be sure they will take a mile.

  • Mhubertcfi

    The idea that certain hogs are more likely to go feral is wrong. Any pig species will become wild in a generation of escape. What is more relavent is the fact that pigs don’t survive well in Mich winters and most farmers have enough money invested in heirloom breeds of hogs that they will install good fences. This seems like a back-door policy for large confinement opeations to squash the small farmer because they are afraid.that people are seeking out higher quality.meat.

  • Jeff_deb

    What you must understand is that you are classifying domesticated pigs as wild boars and classifying these ‘wild’ pigs based on erroneous standards. Many of the farming communities will be effected unduly and that is a shame. No, it is actually a violation of our free rights as Americans.

    Be informed on all the ramifications of this policy and you might change your opinion on the infringements of freedoms taking place.

  • Tracy

    What a waste of time and money for the government to be paying any attention to this. And it’s a farce. Go find something else to with hard earned tax dollars.

  • Kevin

    Great work MUCC! You are supporting all natural resources with your postition on farrel swine and the agriculture community suports your effrots. Many individuals commenting don’t fully understand the issue relative to disease trasmisison and risk to the state natrual resources. Many make false comments to expose their agendas. Small swine farms confining their animals WILL NOT BE AFFECTED by this invasive sepcie designation nor will your 4-H or FFA youth projects be affected. Those of apposing this should do some factural research about farrel swine in other states and get educated about the specific swine and management systems being targeted in this decision. Swine cannot be allowed to roam freely in Michigan based on state law… farmers need to “confine” thier all livestock…again state law. Wild breeds addressed in this law are defined well and should be eradicated.. Find some other specie to hunt for fee in these fenced areas. Also, get off the justification wagon of “local and wild is better for my health… you have no scientific basis for that arguement when considering all nutrition and disease risk. Check your the emotion at the door and get the facts about the law!

    • HockeyDave

      Kevin- show me proof of any feral hog devastion. If hogs are in an area it’s simple to tell. Show me authentics photos of any feral hogs taken outside an enclosure. With over half a millions hunters in the Michigan woods you’d think we might bag one or two. You talk about getting facts- show me your scientific proof of wild hog infestation in MI. Swine issues in othert states are not rpresenataive of Michigan. I suppose we should address the python issue because Florida has a problem. It’s time our elected offials remember they are “representastives of the people’ first and not lawmakers.

    • DEJOS

      Please get your facts straight. Yes the allowable breeds can survive in confined feeding operations; but the bottom line; significantly reduced nutrition, high point source of pollution, dependant on drugs, and unsustainable aggricultural systems. So the DNR needed big agg support to go after the High Fence ranchers, do they really need yours as well.

    • Artsale

      Have some more GMO and Fluoride in your water and add some big pharma vaccines to it. Maybe you won’t notice when you board that train to the new Fema camp. LOVIN” YOUR OWN PRISON!!

    • Robert DeLay

      Maybe Kevin should do his homework or perhaps he just works for Big-Ag?! Wild is wild & domesticated is domesticated, no matter what they look like. Wild breeds ARE NOT well defined (ie. “old world swine”).
      My side of the fence is MY side of the fence, where I am raising nutrionally SUPERIOR pigs. The other side of the fence IS the DNR’s business I hate seeing money wasted on lawsuits, but in this case a well informed citizens movement is going to sue the pants off the DNR because (Kevin) they are targeting small farmers!!!!!!!

    • Francesca

      You might want to redefine ‘wild’. The ‘wild’ meat I wish to buy is raised ON a farm, healthy and happy, taken care of by a farmer. NOT in a concrete box stepping in its own feces and drugged with hormones.
      The problem here is the PRECEDENT the government is setting, and the outright abuse of power on its part. These reckless actions are putting family farms and small businesses out, and taking away choices from those who wish to eat local, specifically raised meat. is this what we want for Michigan??

    • Anonymous

      You need to do you OWN “factural” research. Small swine farms confining their animals WILL BE AFFECTED by this invasive species designation AND any 4-H or FFA youth projects that would like to raise a different variation of pig.

  • Gobig10

    Why can’t these BAD pigs be used for food as quickly as possible and replaced by NORMAL domestic pigs??? The pigs with bloodlines from, say Russia (and everywhere else), should be banned. These pigs live in cold weather and survive quite nicely and have no problem multiplying.
    These BAD pigs create havoc in Texas and Southern states. My childhood friend in Texas lost 32 chickens (killed by pigs by getting thru pens) and 22 acres uprooted losing all of his crops.
    Shoot these buggers, donate the meat, get normal ? pigs.
    These imported pigs are not your normal pigs.

    • Kstrating

      Have you, by chance, been dipping in to your private still? Nothing you said makes sense. Lesson 1) all animals – dogs, cats, and even the cute little pink pigs you call “normal” go feral, if not cared for (I realize this might be new vocab for you, but it’s known as Animal Husbandry). Lesson 2) We have problems with such things as cyotes and racoons getting into our chickens, here in SD. We use guns to shoot them. Lesson 3) Related to Lesson 1, There is only one genus of Swine (Sus scrofa), just as there is only one genus of man (Homo sapien)… unless you want to dispute that, according to your own skin color or hair type?

  • Gobig10

    To the post below….MI / Fed should give these pig farms free US normal ? pigs for every imported type pig turned in. I’m hungry, time for eggs and bacon. Oh yes, Gobig10 born and raised in Detroit and Howell.

  • Brian

    “This was about certain kinds of pigs, not native to Michigan…”

    Can you list a kind of pig that is native to North America, much less to Michigan?

    This is nonsense on stilts. If farmers aren’t securing their livestock that’s one thing, but to single out breeds that just happen to be different than the ones the CAFOs use and thus differentiate small family farms from the agribusiness giants who apparently own several legislators and the DNR stinks.

  • Zingzap

    What a bunch of hogwash. Destroying family farms and diversity so the big pork producers can continue to run their factory farms without competition is asinine.

  • Susan

    Feral pigs? Really? Sounds pretty scary. Like a Hitchcock movie. I can just see it now: Milllions of kids will be frightened of their dark rooms at night in fear of the feral pigs. People will stop walking the streets in fear of the pigs. Schools and businesses will need to close down because of the wild pigs. All other animals will become extinct as the feral pigs take them down.

    What a joke! Leave this poor family alone and allow them to sustain themselves with their business. You know, the way our forefathers intended. Government intrusion seems to be increasing everyday, and to be honest, its not the feral pigs that should be feared. Its our government!

  • Bergertime16

    Why doesn’t the State outlaw PETA? They are the ones that were cutting fences of wild game ranches. Letting the wild hogs out.

  • Vz6208

    good for all of us in Michigan, The “ranches” have proven time and again their dis interest and inability to contain these hogs!

    • Kstrating

      Oh, really!? … care to expound? If you believe “they’ve proven this time & time, again”, surely you can give us multitudes of specifics.

  • Nealsbanknsave

    Michigan started taxing pensions this year to make up money they are losing. So why not cut out money that they can tax as business. Go figure they are IDIOTS that run this state. And the DNR are no better they claim that there are so many wild hogs out there that if you call and ask where you can hunt them they won’t give you any information about that or call you back. Why don’t we just stop hunting all together. IDIOTS IDIOTS Stop and think about that how we as sports men and women might lose more rights because of men and women that make bills that can’t be proven or backed up…… THINK ABOUT IT PEOPLE.

  • Powderburner56

    So let me get this straight…I can no longer pay for a boar hunt on a 300+ acre, fenced in ranch in this state because once again, the DNR dictators have concocted a scheme to brainwash the populus. Having hunted Ted Nugents Sunrize Acres ranch a couple times, both very succesful hunts, I’ll now have to do what Ted did and get the hell out of this state and spend my money elsewhere. Brilliant move, DNR. You suck, and MUCC dribbles right along with you.

    • AnnieBee

      Haven’t you read about the muslim’s buying property ajoining a pig farm and building a mosque on it and then wanting the farmer to move his farm because they are offensive to them. If a muslim is working in a store as a cashier and someone buys bacon, they won’t check them out. So they give them a different job . You try doing that and see how long you’d keep your job . Gotta get obutthead out BEFORE Nov.,he’s going to have too many dead people voting for him…

  • Artsale

    Enjoy your tyranny, because this green LIE does NOT stop at pigs.

  • Terry

    Well guess what CHICAGO’S motto is ” HOG BUTCHIERE to the WORLD”. What a coincidence that the DNR wants to kill a profitable and rare species pig farm. This pig produced a very lean and tender ham and is very desirable throughout Europe. Research showed that this breed came from the now extinct Black pig and it was also said to be almost extinct in itself. Where is the EPA? Moving a rare bush that can be purchsed for $15.00 dollars at a cost of $200,000.00 of taxpayer monies???

  • Robert DeLay

    MUCC has lost it this time! “old world swine” IS superior nutritionally to the bullpig sold in grocery stores. You are messing with my right to raise & eat what I want to eat, which should be the AG dept’s job. While your job is to worry about what’s going on outside my uncle’s fence, where he hasn’t seen a pig escape his husbandry in OVER 43 years of raising pigs!!!!!!!!!!!


    Family farm pigs? Come on!
    I’m outraged you are behind this nonsense!
    You will never get ANY money from me, only NEGATIVE PUBLICITY.

  • Francesca Tundo Carter

    This is a ridiculous article making opinionated claims with ABSOLUTELY NO evidence to back the claims.

    Please show us this “damage” feral pigs are doing!!! And can you please indicate where the damage the feral pigs are doing is costing more than the economic cost to Michigan of putting small farmers out of business?!!

    How about some evidence that this is not, as you claim, “about big agriculture vs. small agriculture”?? Because as I see it, the evidence is stacked against you.

    I am DISGUSTED by this government. What are you doing to Michigan??

  • Francesca Tundo Carter

    In response to “big agriculture vs. small agriculture” who owns Michigan’s government?

  • Skirunman

    And the nice pink pigs are “native” to Michigan, give me a break. You have totally lost all credibility by your stance MUCC

  • Kstrating

    So, just out of curiosity, WHAT breed of swine do you morons believe ARE “NATIVE to Michigan”? Think fast! Time’s up – the answer is NONE. So, when do you suppose the cute little pink ones – you know, the ones that you have no idea *what* shape their tail is, because they are docked – will have to be expunged? Word has it that the attempt to control the ACTUAL problem (the swine that really ARE feral) was a complete bust (number of swine shot – in the wild -by anyone). Sightings were fabricated to support the DNR’s theories. This is such BS, and Gov. Snyder should be hiding under his desk in shame.

  • Robbert Black

    I am completely opposed to the proliferation of non-native species, however, I think this is taking things a bit too far. Destroying small, local farmers is in essence, supporting huge industrial hog factories that are many many times more dangerous to human health and the environment.

    I think your organization is short sighted and merely a tool for the corporate food industry.

  • Guest

    Page 4 says that any pig with a curly or straight tail is illegal. Any pig with erect or floppy ears is illegal.
    Any black pig is illegal.
    The way this law is written gives 100% power to the MDNR to eliminate pig farms if they want to. VERY SCARY.

  • Saje

    I think y’all are confused. A feral hog is not a “certain kind of pig.” A feral hog is ANY kind of formerly domesticated pig that has escaped human husbandry and is living wild. If your problem is feral hogs, put a bounty on them. That managed to drive wolves to the brink of extinction pretty quick.

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