H.R. 1828/S. 893, Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program Act

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AVMA Position:

Support 

Summary:

Introduced by Congressman Charles Boustany (LA-7th) and Senator Mary Landrieu (LA), H.R. 1828/S. 893 authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to provide financial assistance to Louisiana to pay the federal share of the cost of a pilot program to: (1) study the damage to wetlands in Louisiana caused by feral swine, and (2) develop methods to eradicate or control feral swine and to restore damaged wetlands. Limits: (1) the federal share of total pilot program costs to 75%, and (2) the amount of the federal financial assistance that may for used for administrative expenses to 10%.

Background:

  • The U.S. feral swine population poses several risks to the nation’s domestic swine herd as well as to international trade, other production animals, wildlife, transportation and waterway structures, the environment, and public health and safety. 
  • Feral swine pose a soft target for intentional or unintentional introduction and spread of foreign animal diseases (e.g. Classical Swine Fever, African Swine Fever, and Foot-and-Mouth Disease), which could have catastrophic impacts.
  • The USDA estimates that there are 4 million feral pigs nationwide. 
  • The Louisiana State University Agricultural Center reports that damage from feral pigs has been estimated to exceed $1.5 billion annually in the U.S.

Justification:

  • The AVMA is supportive of programs designed to address and control the feral swine population. Lessons learned and successful methods developed with this pilot program will be in some ways adaptable or directly applicable to a variety of ecosystems and environments of other states impacted by feral swine.
  • While the Department of Interior would be responsible for this program, the AVMA encourages close coordination with the USDA Wildlife Services, as they currently conduct most if not all federal efforts towards disease and containment research regarding feral swine.

Current Status:

H.R. 1828: House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs.

S. 893: Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Reported favorably out of committee without amendment on 9/21/2011.

AVMA Contact: 

Dr. Whitney Miller, Assistant Director, Governmental Relations Division, 202-289-3211.