Thursday, April 27, 2017

Texas 'hog apocalypse' on hold after maker of deadly pesticide withdraws registration request

The feral "hog apocalypse" in Texas has been shelved. "Citing the threat of lawsuits, Scimetrics, the company behind the only Environmental Protection Agency-approved pesticide for feral hogs, announced Tuesday it had withdrawn its request for registration in Texas," Morgan Smith reports for The Texas Tribune. Scimetrics said in a statement: "Under the threat of many lawsuits, our family-owned company cannot at this time risk the disruption of our business and continue to compete with special interests in Texas that have larger resources to sustain a lengthy legal battle."

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller in February "announced a rule change in the Texas Administrative Code that classifies a warfarin-based compound called 'Kaput Feral Hog Lure' as a state-limited-use pesticide" to combat the state's feral hog problem, which is estimated to cause more than $50 million in damage a year. Miller's decision led to protests that the pesticide is inhumane and that other species might eat it.

Miller, in a statement, called the decision by Scimetrics to pull its request for registration, "just another kick in the teeth for rural Texans," Smith writes. The decision "comes a week after a bill that would require state agency or university research before the use of lethal pesticides on wild pigs overwhelmingly passed the Texas House." 

Mark Loeffler, a spokesman for the Texas Agriculture Department, said "there are no restrictions on the company seeking re-registration in the future," Smith writes. He said "the department was honoring the company’s request to remove its application but would continue an already-in-motion process to establish rules governing the use of the poison in the state. The department held a public hearing on the rules in Waco on Monday."

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