In this file:
· Feral Swine in the U.S.: An Update on Disease Surveillance
· America’s Rapid Feral Hog Problem Is Creating a “Super-Pig” Uprising
Feral Swine in the U.S.: An Update on Disease Surveillance
Jennifer Shike, FarmJournal's Pork
October 13, 2020
In 2020 alone, USDA estimates there are 6 million feral swine in the U.S. creating issues for traditional livestock production, natural resources and other species.
“Right now, it’s Germany getting all of the headlines, but we are keeping our attention on doing what’s needed to protect the U.S. pork industry,” Dave Pyburn, chief veterinarian with the National Pork Board, said in the Pork Checkoff Foreign Animal Disease Preparation Bulletin. “We know feral swine pose a threat to our domestic herd in several ways, and we are committed to working with our government and industry partners to bolster surveillance and testing of the feral herd.”
To address these ongoing issues, including domestic and foreign disease surveillance priorities of feral swine, USDA convened a technical working group consisting of swine industry representatives, state and federal animal health officials, university and wildlife experts. These experts included Paul Sundberg, executive director of the Swine Health Information Center; Harry Snelson, American Association of Swine Veterinarians; Dave Pyburn and Patrick Webb, National Pork Board; Liz Wagstrom, National Pork Producers Council; and Bobby Acord, a consultant with the National Pork Producers Council.
The published review and recommendations report was a collaborative effort between USDA and the other groups for the purpose of addressing the feral swine threat to domestic swine health, the Swine Health Information Center shared in its latest newsletter.
In an article published in the Journal of Animal Science (2020, Vol. 98, No. 8, 1-3)...
America’s Rapid Feral Hog Problem Is Creating a “Super-Pig” Uprising
o America has a major feral pig problem, including hybrid vigor “super-pigs.”
o The combination of wild boars and the robust fertility of agricultural pigs adds up to 9 million feral pigs and counting.
o Call your local wild hog hotline to report any pig activities.
Caroline Delbert, Yahoo Life
October 11, 2020
In 30 years, feral pigs have expanded from 17 states to 39, reaching a population high enough to constitute a “feral swine bomb,” researchers say.
In August 2019, Willie McNabb and his yard full of feral hogs became an overnight internet sensation. But McNabb’s meme led to an increased awareness of the real fact of wild hogs, reported recently by The Atlantic, as something that millions of Americans deal with and that is a genuine public menace and destructive force.
The 2017 film Okja posited a Cujo-like super-pig, but researchers say that idea is now close to a reality for some groups of feral pigs. That’s because most wild pigs in the U.S. are some level of hybrid between domestic pigs and wild boars, creating heterosis or hybrid vigor. Britannica explains:
“[T]he increase in such characteristics as size, growth rate, fertility, and yield of a hybrid organism over those of its parents. Plant and animal breeders exploit heterosis by mating two different pure-bred lines that have certain desirable traits. The first-generation offspring generally show, in greater measure, the desired characteristics of both parents. This vigour may decrease, however, if the hybrids are mated together.”
What results from these naturally occurring hybrids is a generation of wild pigs that can have the protective fur of the wild boar and the carefully bred huge litter size of the domestic pig, for example.
McNabb drew attention to Texas in particular, which has the largest wild hog problem. There are an estimated 1.5 million wild hogs in that state alone, with another half a million in Florida...