2012-11-29 / News

DNR to hunters, farmers: shoot, report feral swine

Disease a risk factor from free-range pigs

LANSING – Hunters and farmers are being urged to shoot feral swine and report any sightings. According to the Michigan Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Natural Resources, feral swine are defined as free-ranging wild pigs, not owned by any person.

“As the fall crop harvest continues, we expect farmers to come across feral swine. These animals may transmit disease to domestic pigs and cause extensive crop damage for Michigan’s farming families,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Steven Halstead. “Farmers can help manage this problem by shooting feral swine. Additionally, I urge any owners of swine that may be loose to gather them immediately if they don’t want to be fined for livestock running at large.”

Feral swine are known to carry the Pseudorabies virus, which primarily causes newborn piglets to die. Older pigs can survive infection, becoming carriers of the virus for life.

“Feral swine are a significant risk to Michigan’s wildlife, ecosystems and agricultural resources, and they are a serious threat to humans and wildlife, said DNR Deputy Director Bill Moritz. “We encourage hunters to take feral swine in the wild when they encounter them. Doing so helps us manage and protect the state’s natural resources.”

Private land owners may shoot or trap-and-remove feral swine at any time. For a list of counties where feral swine have been sighted, please visit www.michigan.gov/ emergingdiseases. In Michigan, hunters with a valid hunting license of any type can shoot feral swine.

“Hunters often ask about the risk of consuming feral swine. Although the diseases associated with live feral swine are of serious concern to livestock owners and to natural resource managers, it is highly unlikely a person will contract an illness by eating thoroughly cooked meat of feral swine,” said Dr. Halstead. “Natural parasites such as trichinella may be found in wild pig meats. Cooking meats to an internal temperature of 170.6°F. will kill this parasite; this temperature will kill viruses and bacteria as well.”

If you see or shoot any feral swine, please contact: the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services at: Nathan.A.Newman@aphis.usda.gov or by contacting the office number at (517) 336- 1928. Please provide the date of observation or take, your name and address, your phone number and email. Please note the crossroads, the county and the nearest city. Be prepared to provide the number of animals, the type (adults or piglets), and if crop damage was observed.

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