I was asked yesterday for a response to the DNR’s latest release. I figured others may have the same question, so I’ll share my answers here.
The Cheboygan News wrote a helpful article as well: Invasive Swine Prompts DNR visit to Renegade Ranch…
Here is my take:
Note in the paragraph they say “the vast majority….” There are cases to the contrary, and I shared a couple of those stories earlier on our blog.
They have not, themselves, shot any pigs. Mr. Tuxbury shot his own pigs because the DNR, in a Feb. 1st meeting, expressly told the farmers and ranchers present that they would arrest noncompliant operators and charge them with a felony as the Invasive Species Order is based in the federal Invasive Species Act. The DNR also directed those present to violate the Invasive Species Act and depopulate by selling out of state or butchering. Note on my blog that Ron McKendrick’s butcher felt too intimidated to be comfortable taking his hogs after they visited her–“harboring” an invasive species is punishable with fines and felony charges. This is how the law is written. Those who voluntarily depopulated, as Mr. Tuxbury did, simply didn’t want to risk the fines and a felony record. In the Feb. 1st meeting, the DNR was VERY clear about the consequences of non compliance. They have a history of using intimidation tactics to ensure compliance.
They have not “arrested” anyone. Mark is in Cheboygan this morning to testify in the hearing for Ron and Charlene McKendrick. The DNR has brought suit against him rather than arrest him. Since Mark follows this very closely while I am managing the farm and behind scenes, he knows more about this. Nonetheless, they’ve avoided the arrest scenario, but are pressing civil suits. I know part of the suit is billing him for the enforcement action against him. I expect you’ll hear about this in the news and I’ll post it on the blog when Mark gets home and I can debrief him.
“The (ISO) is not an attack on farms.” The DNR has repeatedly sought to characterize a breed of pig as a whole separate species. In fact, the Boar breeds (there are several strains) produce fertile offspring when crossed with other pig breeds. High school biology, anyone? That makes them the same species, different breed. They are the most heritage of heritage breeds, the root stock from which all breeds have been line bred. They are not Asian Carp. Note that the kills they claim happened over 10 years and the photos of Russian Boars loose in the wild are all from Texas or Florida–NOT Michigan. The DNR has not made a solid case for a massive feral pig problem requiring the elimination of an industry, no matter how distasteful it may be. Bottom line on the ISO, though: it is poorly written and needs to be rescinded. As it is written right now, ANY pig possessing floppy ears and a curly tail may be a Boar hybrid and is forbidden. If you have an erect or floppy eared, curly tailed pig on your farm, you are in violation. They may not be after you now, but the law is written in such a way that the door is open should they discover that the 9th characteristic currently not known to the DNR is that feral hogs put on weight while living on dirt and eating grass–wherever such pigs may occur.
Please ask your questions!