For the past 4 weeks of #FeralFridays, we have given you all the ammunition needed to build a case about why we need to eradicate and prevent the establishment of feral swine in Michigan:
- Have You Seen Feral Swine? (with lots of pictures of tell-tale signs)
- Feral Swine-Bad for Michigan!
- Shoot on Sight
- Feral Swine Diseases
Each of these pieces of information led to an MUCC member-driven policy in 2008 that demanded that the State of Michigan get ahead of this problem. But how do we “turn off the faucet”, that is, stop the introduction of feral swine into Michigan’s landscape? And in the last 6 years, what have we tried?
Back in 2010, Michigan named wild pigs an invasive species through an order signed by the DNR Director. This prevents people from owning, possessing, or transporting live feral swine, defined as “Wild boar, wild hog, wild swine, feral pig, feral hog, feral swine, Old world swine, razorback, eurasian wild boar, Russian wild boar (Sus scrofa Linnaeus)”. This invasive species order does not and is not intended to affect sus domestica involved in domestic hog production.
The Order was not enforced until 2012. Despite some legal challenges and court rulings, the Invasive Species Order remains in effect, and possession or sale of Russian boar and hybrids of Russian boar is still prohibited. But the future is still somewhat muddy.
The Invasive Species Order was ruled unconstitutional earlier this year in a Marquette legal case involving three game ranch owners who illegally-possessed wild boar after the Invasive Species Order took effect. However, this ruling has been appealed by the State of Michigan Attorney General’s office to the Court of Appeals and it might not be until Fall 2015 when it will be heard. There are still 4 other legal cases in Michigan also outstanding. MUCC has joined the Marquette case as part of a group of concerned agricultural and conservation organizations who filed an amicus brief.
If the lower court ruling stands, we are left with no regulation of wild boars or any protection of our agriculture and natural resources from the threat of feral swine (except shoot on sight). At that point, it could be back in the hands of the Michigan Legislature or the DNR as to how to prevent further spread of this invasive species. We hope it doesn’t come to that and that the ruling is overturned by the Court of Appeals. But until then, the feral swine saga continues.