Few people would consider me an animal rights activist. I’m a native Texan, an avid hunter, and the furthest thing from a vegetarian. But more than that, I’m just a guy who doesn’t want to see our state’s ecosystem deteriorate into a battleground for gruesome, experimental chemical warfare. And that’s exactly what we’re facing.
Last month, our state's agricultural commissioner declared that the Hog Apocalypse in Texas will soon begin. Sid Miller, the man best known for gunning for (and gunning down) our feral hog population, has never hidden his dislike of the invasive swine species. But he's taken things to a dangerous new level.
His approval to begin using warfarin, an anticoagulant that, when consumed in high doses, slowly kills animals through excruciating internal bleeding, to poison Texas' millions of hogs is beyond short-sighted. It's the most savage attempt yet by a government official to provide a quick-fix for a problem we created. After all, these pigs are running wild because humans decimated populations of natural predators and killed off several species entirely. If we're going to be their primary beasts of prey, we need to do so in way that's beneficial to our communities and state, not harmful.
Now, there's no doubt about it: Wild hogs are a terror for Texas if left undisturbed. They're dangerous animals that are extremely invasive and destructive. Any rancher can tell you horror stories about the damage they can cause to crops in a matter of minutes. But a single-minded, bullish strategy like poisoning them will mutilate our state's native wildlife populations and jeopardize our society's well-being.
No matter what he says, Commission Miller's plan, which entails mixing the warfarin into large bins with hog feed and leaving them out as traps, is a recipe for disaster and collateral damage. Whether by direct consumption, runoff after rains, or the eating of infected hogs' carcasses, this toxic chemical will end up in the bellies of other wildlife, in our state water systems and in our supermarkets. Nothing in nature exists in isolation.
There are better ways to address this issue. Rather than viewing these hogs as a pest in need of extermination at any environmental or moral cost, it would be wiser to see them as a source of food and economic growth. We can create new supply chains that would control the hogs' populations and mitigate their impact, chipping away at the state's unfathomably large supply of feral hogs while ensuring thousands of pounds of meat isn't put to waste.
Instead of waiting for legislators to catch up, we took matters into our own hands and created a solution: our wild boar bacon bars. Sourced from 100% wild Texas pigs that are hunted, humanely trapped, and are not subjected to any harsh chemicals, they represent EPIC’s ability to create supply chains and jobs in sectors few others will venture. By building out this product line, we’ve accomplished our company’s most cherished ideals: providing nourishing, wholesome food options to our consumers while positively impacting the lands we inhabit.
Commissioner Miller's proposal has been held by a state judge after Wild Boar Meats LLC asked that a restraining order be put in place, but more must be done. Addressing our state's wild pig problem will require a multi-pronged approach and the cooperation of consumers, hunters, politicians, businesses and many more groups who are typically at odds. But unlike other current issues, the threat of slowly and painfully poisoning animals while irrecoverably maiming our state is something that will unite every Texan.
If we speak out, contact our state representatives and voice our displeasure of this inhumane and impudent proposal, we can stake our claim as the true defenders of Texas, no matter how toxic our opposition is. Grab a wild boar bacon bar today and help EPIC continue its fight for planet-conscious food.
This article originally ran in the Dallas Morning News on March 14, 2017 under the title “Instead of poisoning feral hogs, Texans should just eat them.”