The following letter was sent to Senator Daines and Senator Tester in hopes that there may be a way to encourage Canada to move forward in developing, funding and enacting a national feral swine eradication and control plan. Without Canada actively managing their feral swine the northern States that share the Canadian border will be at a continued risk of encroachment by the world’s worst invasive species.
December 30, 2019
Dear Senator Daines,
In the last few years Montana’s rancher and farmers have become increasingly concerned about feral swine being introduced into the state, either by expansion of the unmanaged feral swine in Canada or by feral swine being transported by humans into the state for hunting opportunities.
The most recent sighting of feral swine in the winter of 2017/2018 was swiftly investigated by the Montana Department of Livestock and USDA Wildlife Services (French, 2018). We are thankful for the 2015 Montana Legislatures action of putting law in place that allows for this quick response to such an event and prevents any motivation for hunter interests to transport feral swine into Montana. (Lindquist, 2015)
The state of Montana is putting measures in place to prevent feral swine from become inhabitants. The Montana Invasive Species Council and Department of Livestock (DOL) are working together with the Squeal on Pigs Campaign (Hoffman, 2019). The USDA designating $75 million nationwide to help states prevent feral swine invasion and eradicate feral swine in states where populations are low. Still there is much concern about our neighbors to the north allowing their feral swine population to grow without any coordinated national effort of eradication.
Canadian Livestock associations and environmental groups such as Manitoba Pork (Editor, 2019), Manitoba Wildlife Federation (Stockford, 2019), Saskatchewan Stock Growers (MacPherson, 2018)have begun to call on the Government to implement a national eradication plan. Gail Wallin, executive director of the Invasive Species Council of B.C. has also called for a national eradication effort. (Montgomery, 2016)
The 2015 research “Disease risks associated with free-ranging wild boar in Saskatchewan” by Glenna F. McGregor clearly states that the Saskatchewan feral swine population is well adapted to the rugged climate and highly productive and that without control measures will likely continue to expand. The research also focuses on the fact that feral swine are a dangerous reservoir for disease. (al, 2015)
Perry Abramenko, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, also states that even with local efforts to reduce damage by hogs the population seems to be growing. (Moore, 2019)
The growing feral swine population worldwide is creating negative impacts on agriculture crops, and livestock, water sources, natural habitat for wildlife and they are a predator of ground nesting birds, reptiles, and small mammals such as fawns. (Centner, 2014) (McClure, 2018)
One of the most concerning aspects of feral swine is that they serve as a disease reservoir. There has long be concern over the possibility of Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak introducing the disease to Feral Swine (Pineda-Krch, 2010) (Mohamed, 2010)
The most recent concern is African Swine Fever (ASF). The ASF virus can survive in cured, smoked, and frozen pork for periods of time that allow smuggled food from ASF infected countries to a risk of introducing the virus to North America. The virus also can survive on livestock feed or feed additives being imported overseas from ASF infected countries. (Niederwerder, 2019) (Hancock, 2019)
In Europe they have seen a direct correlation between infected feral swine and ASF outbreaks in commercial hog operations due to contaminated environment and feed stuff. (Boklund, 2018)Measures such as fences, dog patrols, feral swine carcass removal and regulations that prohibit swine farming outdoors or feeding possibility contaminated forage in the same year it is harvested.
ASF could have profound impacts on pork exports for both the USA and Canada. The eradication of feral swine where possible reduces this risk of a disease reservoir for not only FMD and ASF should they be introduced, but many other domestic diseases.
Marias River Livestock Association would like to ask you to use whatever venues are available to you to encourage Canada to enact a national feral swine eradication program. We would also ask that you would continue to ensure there is funding for USDA Wildlife Services to carry out eradication of feral swine in the United States and to partner with Canadian provinces where possible to assist in the feral swine eradication process.
Last, we ask that there would be continued vigilance at Customs and Border Patrol to watch for possible contaminated foods being smuggled into the USA, imports of high risk livestock feeds or feed additives, and encourage communication between USDA Wildlife Services and the US Border Patrol agents who monitor the northern border through human vigilance, cameras and surveillance flights.
Maggie Nutter, President, Marias River Livestock Association
al, G. F. ( 2015, Aug). Disease risks associated with free-ranging wild boar in Saskatchewan, Can Vet J. 2015 Aug; 56(8) pg 839-844. Retrieved from US National Library of Medicine : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4502852/
Boklund, A. ( 2018, Nov 8). Epidemiological analyses of African swine fever in the European Union (November 2017 until November 2018) –European Food Safety Authority. Retrieved from European Food Safety Journal Online Library Wiley: https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5494
Centner, T. J. (2014, May 21). Governmental Provisions to Manage and Eradicate Feral Swine in Areas of the United States. Retrieved from US National Library of Medicine : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4329133/
Editor, T. P. (2019, 18 February 2019 18). Manitoba to report all wild pig sightings in fight to prevent ASF. Retrieved from The Pig Site : https://thepigsite.com/news/2019/02/manitoba-to-report-all-wild-pig-sightings-in-fight-to-prevent-asf
French, B. (2018, Jan 23). After 13-hour airborne search, officials relieved they didn’t find a feral hog in northeast Montana. Missoulian, p. http://bit.ly/SacoFeralSwine.
Hancock, S. C. ( 2019, Feb 13). Kansas State University researcher publishes study confirming experimental transmission of African swine fever virus through feed. Retrieved from Kansas State University K-State News: https://www.k-state.edu/media/newsreleases/2019-02/asf21319.html
Hoffman, M. (2019, Nov 18). Quick reporting is key to stopping feral swine from settling in Montana. Billings Gazzette, p. http://bit.ly/SquealCampaign.
Lindquist, L. (2015, Jan 8). Bill would fight invasion of feral swine. Bozeman Chronicle , p. http://bit.ly/2015SB100.
MacPherson, C. (2018, July 24). letter to Ministry of Agriculture pdf. Retrieved from Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association : http://bit.ly/SaskStockGrowers
McClure, M. L. (2018, March 28). A globally-distributed alien invasive species poses risks to United States imperiled species. Retrieved from US National Library of Medicine : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871849/
Mohamed, F. (2010). Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Feral Swine: Susceptibility and. Retrieved from Digital Commons University of Nebraska : https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2065&context=icwdm_usdanwrc
Montgomery, M. (2016, Feb. 4). Wild boars, feral pigs: double dose of destruction. Retrieved from Invasive Species Council of BC: http://bit.ly/BCcallforeradication
Moore, E. ( 2019, June 7). Specialist answers questions about wild boars. Retrieved from Edson Leader News : https://www.edsonleader.com/news/local-news/specialist-answers-questions-about-wild-boars
Niederwerder, M. C. ( 2019, December Volume 25, Number 12). Half-Life of African Swine Fever Virus in Shipped Feed. Retrieved from Center for Disease Control– Emerging Infectious Diseases: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/25/12/19-1002_article
Pineda-Krch, M. (2010). Potential impact of introduction of foot-and mouth disease from wild pigs into commercial Livestock premises of California . Retrieved from California Dairy Research Foundation : http://cdrf.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Pineda_Krch_et_al_potential_outbreak_of_FMD_in_CA_from_wild_pigs.pdf
Stockford, A. (2019, May 30). Wild pigs on the loose: A pending threat in Manitoba. Retrieved from Manitoba Co-Operator: http://bit.ly/ManitobaWildlifeFederation