Letter: Wild hog ban is critical for state

Michigan’s pork industry is growing by the day — producing more pork using modern, innovative practices. Our productivity is attracting new business, including a new pork processing plant in Coldwater that will employ hundreds of local workers and pump millions of dollars into our economy.

Michigan’s ban on wild hogs and ongoing efforts to eradicate them play a crucial role in this progress, and should be maintained.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen the threat posed by wild hogs and other invasive species in Michigan and throughout the nation. Invasive species fundamentally alter ecosystems, spread disease and disrupt native species, and can cause significant economic harm.

As an invasive species, feral swine are a leading vector for diseases to spread on Michigan farms. They have been found to carry more than 40 diseases affecting humans and animals — from bovine tuberculosis to pseudorabies and beyond.

This directly affects farmers in Michigan who work hard to keep their herds disease-free. They invest millions of dollars into precautionary measures and best practices to prevent diseases from spreading like wildfire through their herds.

In addition, because wild hogs are so mobile, and reproduce rapidly, their impact is swift and devastating. In addition to spreading diseases, their natural behavior tears up the landscape, destroying our state’s natural beauty and causing significant damage to farmers’ crops.

Michigan’s ban on feral swine has made a real difference when it comes to protecting farms, outdoor spaces and wildlife from invasive wild hogs. The number of wild hogs has dropped significantly because this policy works. However, we need to remain vigilant and continue to work toward eradicating all wild hogs from our state.

To keep growing Michigan’s pork industry (and to protect Michigan’s great outdoors) a ban on wild hogs is common sense. We should let this successful policy continue to help landowners, outdoor recreation enthusiasts and farmers statewide.

Mary Kelpinski, CEO

Michigan Pork Producers Association