The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

March 23, 2013

Readers' Forum 3-23 | Climate control cannot be legislated

(Continued)

JOHNSTOWN — Keep feral pigs under game commission rule

Senate Bill 644 and House Bill 723 would remove the authority of the Pennsylvania Game Commission from regulating feral pigs in captive hunts – an abusive practice where shooters pay to kill animals confined within fenced enclosures.

While the cruelty and unsporting nature of shooting captive feral pigs is evident, there is also a serious threat to our natural resources and public safety – the escaped feral pigs can be responsible for spreading diseases to native wildlife populations, jeopardizing hunting opportunities in the wild and threatening the agriculture industry.  Feral pigs’ foraging, rooting and wallowing behavior can cause significant damage to agricultural crops, trees and other plants, erosion of river and stream banks and destruction of wetlands. 

The Pennsylvania Game Commission currently is considering a proposal that would shut down captive pig hunts by prohibiting the possession, importation and release into the wild of feral pigs. However, S.B. 644 and H.B. 723 would remove the commission’s authority over these animals, precluding this much-needed rule from passing.

The proposed rule published by the commission states that an effort to eradicate feral swine and wild boar from the state is necessary to protect threats by these animals to the state’s natural resources, agricultural and forest pro-ducts industries, and public health and safety.

Passage of S.B. 644 and H.B. 723 would be a huge step backward for Pennsylvania. The game commission is the appropriate agency to have authority over feral pigs – politics should not trump sound scientific wildlife management decisions.

Sarah Speed

State Director, Humane Society of the United States

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