Birth control for feral hogs. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
There’s a saying that when a feral hog has six piglets, only eight are expected to survive.
That’s no joke in Texas, however, where the 400-pound beasts do an estimated $50 million in damage to crops and property each year. Texas has half the nation’s feral hogs, but they’re now found in about 38 other states, up from fewer than 20 states 15 years ago.
One Texas researcher had hoped to slow their rapid reproduction with a birth control pill, but that hasn’t worked out well.
Two compounds proved ineffective. One required a very exact dose to work, and the other wore off too soon, said Duane Kraemer, a Texas A&M University veterinarian and researcher.
There also are the problems of getting the hogs to take the drug, keeping it from other animals and ensuring humans who eat hog meat aren’t harmed.
And don’t even ask about the hog condom, or trying to teach them the rhythm method. Not a pretty sight, that’s all I can say.
OK, OK, it’s easy for a citified urban elitist like me to joke about this kind of thing, but feral hogs are a huge environmental and agricultural pest, and there’s not much we can do about them right now that’s helping. I wish Dr. Kraemer and his crew the best of luck in making progress on this problem.