Posts Tagged ‘Feral Hogs’

The passing scene: Links & comments 6/19/14

June 19, 2014

How Inequality Shapes the American Family by Lynn Stuart Parramore for AlterNet.

We are always free to choose, no matter what our circumstances.   But we are not free to choose the options we have to choose from.

Lynn Stuart Parramore wrote that our choices as to when to get married, whom to marry and whether to stay married are limited by our life circumstances.  And those life circumstances are shaped by how much money we have.

There’s an old saying: Half the world doesn’t know how the other half lives.  And another old saying: Don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes (at least in imagination).  These are things to keep in mind when judging the life choices of people in circumstances other than our own.

Making Schools Poor by Diane Ravitch for the New York Review of Books.

A judge in California ruled that teacher tenure is a violation of the state constitution.  His reasoning is that tenure protects ineffective teachers, that poor and minority children have a disproportionate number of ineffective teachers and that tenure is therefore a violation of their rights.

Ravitch wrote that the problem with this is that financially-strapped school districts will tend to lay off the more experienced teachers, whether effective or not, because they are the ones that are paid the most.

Not covered by the decision: Overcrowded classes, the elimination of arts programs, or the lack of resources for basic needs, including libraries, librarians, counselors, after-school programs, and nurses, all of which disproportionately affect poor and minority children.

Julian Assange Hopes New Information Filed in Swedish Court Will Remove Arrest Warrant by Kevin Gosztla for The Dissenter.

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, has taken refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past two years rather than be extradited to Sweden to be questioned in a sexual misconduct case.

He is afraid of being re-extradited to the United States on espionage charges because of all the secret information he has published.  He offered to go to Sweden if he was assured he won’t be re-extradited, and also offered to be questioned where he is.  Sweden has refused both conditions.

Kevin Gosztla noted that Sweden has meanwile passed a law that you can be extradited unless there is an actual criminal charge against you.  Assange has not been charged with a crime, but the law isn’t retroactive to him.   Gosztla also noted that Swedish prosecutors have traveled to foreign countries to question suspects in other cases, including murder cases.

Assange’s lawyers are working on a new appeal to Sweden to set aside the arrest warrant, and also are appealing to the United Nations Human Rights Commission on the grounds that Sweden violates international human rights treaties..

The Pig Punisher: Building drones to fight devious crop-devouring hogs by Yasha Levine for PandoDaily.

The real enemy within.

Let’s war on the enemy within: Feral hogs

May 2, 2013


For more than a decade, the federal government has been handling out military equipment to local governments while expanding the budget and capabilities of the Department of Homeland Security.   It is time to use this equipment and capability on a dangerous enemy within:  Feral hogs.

You think I’m kidding?

wild_hogs_7The feral hog population of the United States numbers in the millions.   Nobody knows how many there are.  One source says there are 5 million in the USA, another that there are 2.5 million in Texas alone.  All agree that their numbers are increasing rapidly and that they are spreading to all states of the Union.

Feral hogs destroy an estimated $1.5 billion worth of  livestock and crops every year.  They kill  game animals and destroy the natural habitat—the latter by rooting up trees, shrubs and plants until nothing is left but a wasteland.   They carry diseases and parasites than can spread to people and livestock.

They breed frequently and have large litters.  Game experts say it is necessary to kill 60 to 70 percent of the wild hog population every year just to keep the population stable.

Copy_of_SL_8_21_08_Gone_hog_wild!_part1On a visit to San Antonio, I met a man who makes a living hunting feral hogs.  He said they typically weigh hundreds of pounds, and he has seen tracks of a hog that must have weighed 1,000.

The feral hog population originated with the first Spanish settlers of the Southwest, who brought herds of pigs with them to assure a secure meat supply.   U.S. pioneers in the South and Southwest would typically let their hogs roam free, and hunt and kill them when they needed meat to eat.   Natural selection made the surviving wild hog population more intelligent and adaptable.

The turning point came when sportsmen imported wild boars as game animals.   Wild boars are ferocious, intelligent and hard to kill.  They have thick skulls and thick hides, and can be killed only by a well-aimed, high-caliber bullet hitting a vital organ.  A wounded wild boar is one of the most dangerous creatures on earth.   And they have no natural predators, at least not in North America.

trophyboarhogSome wild boars escaped into the wild and inter-bred with the existing feral hog population.  The result was a super-hog, like something out of a Michael Crichton novel.   When I read about these creatures and their adaptability and ability to learn, I give thanks that they don’t have opposable thumbs.

Feral hogs can’t be controlled by ordinary hunting methods.   We need to mobilize our war technology—helicopter gunships, infrared sensors, killer drones, signature strikes.  We also could use the help of people who have stockpiled high-caliber, military-type weapons.  They could make a good contribution by organizing into well-ordered militias and fighting an undisputed enemy within.

Feral hogs are gaining a foothold in New York state, but they’re not yet a noticeable problem here in the Rochester area.  We have deer, which have lost their fear of humankind, wandering into the suburbs and sometimes into the city, which is a big nuisance.  A farmer friend of mine is troubled by coyotes, which have migrated from west to east in North America.  But as yet, no feral hogs.

The feral hog situation is much worse in some parts of Europe.  Wild boars wander into urban areas in Germany and have been known to attack people.  Some of them are radioactive, a lingering result of the Chernobyl disaster, although all that really means in practice is that their meat is not safe to eat.