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.
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