The poison plan for controlling feral hogs is set to be put on pause by the Legislature.
A bill poised to pass the Texas House would amend the Texas Agriculture Code to prohibit the Department of Agriculture from registering, approving for use or allowing use of any pesticide for feral hog control unless a study by a state agency or university recommends such action.
That legislation – HB 3451, by Rep. Lynn Stucky, R-Denton – was filed in the wake of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s emergency rules issued earlier this year (and since suspended by a state judge) that set regulations for use of the first pesticide approved by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for use controlling feral hogs. Texas holds more than 2 million feral hogs, an invasive species causing significant environmental and economic damage in the state. While extermination of feral hogs is almost universally approved by Texans, the move allowing use of the pesticide proved controversial, drawing intense opposition from a wide range of individuals and organizations concerned about the potential negative effects on humans and non-target animals from warfarin, the pesticide’s active ingredient.
Stucky’s bill, which has more than 120 House members as co-sponsors, sailed through its committee hearing, initial procedural readings on the House floor and could see final passage by the House as soon as this week.
The bill can expect to be well received in the Texas Senate, where a companion bill – SB 1454 by Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin – has almost a third of the Senate as co-sponsors.
See here and here for the background. That column was published on Wednesday. HB3451 was postponed, first till Thursday and then till Monday, at which time it was overwhelmingly approved by the full House.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s push to use a warfarin-based poison to kill feral hogs in the state has a long list of opponents that now includes more than two-thirds of the Legislature where Miller once served.
House lawmakers voted 128 to 13 to preliminarily approve legislation Monday that would require state agency or university research before the use of lethal pesticides on wild pigs. A companion bill in the Senate has 10 co-sponsors.
A coalition of hunters, animal rights advocates, conservationists and meat processors has mobilized against the use of the poison. The Texas State Rifle Association, Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, the Texas Hog Hunters Association and the Texas Veterinary Medical Association are all among the groups that support the bill.
Lotta love for ol’ Sid there. SB1454 has not had a committee hearing yet. Sure seems likely this will pass, especially given that House vote, but it’s never over till it’s over in the Lege. There’s more about other outdoors-related bills in that column, so check it out if that’s your thing.