by Ken Root
The pork industry is vitally important to the meat supply of the United States, but in many regions of the country there are thousands of wild hogs that wreak havoc on the landscape and native species.
On the up side, the Pork Board is trying to make swine producers aware of Seneca Valley Virus or SVV.
SVV, has been seen in the U.S. since 2002. A few cases were identified in the U.S. swine herd this past year.
Pork Checkoff vice president of science and technology Dr. Dave Pyburn, says there are some commonalities with these cases.
“Really a lot of the activity at least we heard about was in cull sows, and the issues were being found at the slaughter plants. So, we had folks that were seeing cull sows coming to the plants with these lesions.” Pyburn explains. “It was causing a stopping of line, and causing a slow down of slaughter while we moved these animals over to the side and tested them. We have to do that because this is a disease that looks like foot and mouth. We have to test these as if they can be a foreign animal disease.”
Pyburn says there is a simple recommendation for pig farmers.
“As you are loading animals whether they are finishers or sows going to slaughter look for vesicles. If you see vesicles don’t ship them. Call your veterinarian and get them involved.”
SVV cases typically peak in late summer and early fall.
Now to the opposite end of the spectrum. Wild hogs or feral hogs, can do well in the southern portion of the country. They are like bears (to which they are related) and are omnivorous. Basically there is nothing they won’t eat. They are also intelligent, ranked just below the apes in animal intelligence. Boars and sows have large teeth and can kill a person with their ferocious bite.
A major effort to eradicate these animals is underway in the southern U.S. with good results. The Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of a bait used to help eradicate feral pigs. Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, and president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Dr. Mike Strain explains.
“Last year we harvested and killed more than 350,000 feral pigs and the population continues to grow. It is an invasive species that causes a great deal of damage. There is a new product called Kaput that is a feral hog bait which controls the pig,” Strain said.
So it seems a contradiction to work so hard to keep pigs alive as food animals and so hard to get rid of those that disrupt the wildlife and cause soil erosion in a wild habitat.
Some states have private hunting preserves for wild hogs but states have prohibited them from transporting wild hogs in an effort to prevent re-establishment of wild herds.