The Texas plan to use poisoned bait to control feral hogs generated considerable controversy and complains from diverse groups of sportsmen, environmentalists and landowners. And now a Texas judge has delayed the program in response to a lawsuit from a meat company.

On February 21, the Texas Department of Agriculture approved use of “Kaput Feral Hog Lure,” a warfarin-based hog bait, as a limited-use pesticide. The decision met favor among many landowners dealing with extensive damage to crops and resources from the state’s exploding population of feral hogs. Sportsmen who hunt and eat feral hogs raised concerns though, as did environmental groups fearing unintentional poisoning of wildlife or domestic animals consuming the bait or consuming the remains of poisoned hogs. Even some landowners, who generate revenue from hunting leases, oppose the program.

Wild Boar Meats, in Hubbard, Texas, filed a lawsuit to challenge the program, and the Travis County court granted a temporary restraining order to suspend the Texas Department of Agriculture’s emergency rules authorizing use of the bait. The company processes and meat from feral hogs killed by hunters and is concerned over food safety, and likely, future supplies of hogs to process.

Scimetrics, the company that manufactures the pesticide, says the product is safe for livestock, wildlife and humans if used as directed. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has licensed the product as an unrestricted pesticide, but the Texas law would impose further restrictions such as limiting its purchase and use to licensed pesticide applicators. Opponents claim that because warfarin already has approval for rodent control, the EPA granted the license without public comment and based only on company research, and they call for more research, transparency and public comment.

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