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National

Texas Will Use New Poison To Cut Down On Feral Pig Population

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In Texas, farmers are having a wild pig problem. The feral hogs are destroying crops, costing the agriculture industry tens of millions of dollars every year.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

So now Sid Miller, the state's agriculture commissioner, says enough is enough. And he's going to unleash what he calls a hog apocalypse.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SID MILLER: We've concluded our research, and we're now going to send all those little piggies to hog heaven.

GREENE: So Miller's hog apocalypse will come in the form of a new pesticide that kills feral pigs. It is called Kaput Feral Hog Lure.

INSKEEP: Texas has approved it for use. Jack Mayer is a biologist with the Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken, S.C.

JACK MAYER: This is a modified rodenticide, basically, a modified rat poison.

GREENE: And it is controversial with environmental groups. They are worried that the pesticide is both inhumane and that it could affect more than just wild pigs.

MAYER: Other animals that may get ahold of this bait and eat enough to be impacted by it and potentially even killed.

INSKEEP: Which sounds bad, but biologist Jack Mayer says wild pig populations have exploded in Texas. There's an estimated 2 million feral hogs roaming the state, and officials have not found any other way of stopping them.

MAYER: We've tried trapping. We've tried shooting. We're doing aerial gunning. But it's not really knocking down the numbers so that we're seeing a significant decrease in the damage that these animals are causing.

GREENE: Kaput Feral Hog Lure will hit the market in Texas in May.

(SOUNDBITE OF SAXON SHORE'S "ANGELS AND BROTHERLY LOVE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.