Federal Issue Brief

 Feral Swine Damage Management – Environmental Impact Statement

Formal Title: Docket Number (APHIS-2013-0031); Environmental Impact Statement; Feral Swine Damage Management

Brief Description:

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) advised that it plans to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to address the need for a national feral swine damage management program to protect agriculture, natural resources, property, and human health and safety. Within the notice, APHIS identifies potential issues and alternatives that will be studied in the EIS, requests public comments to further delineate the scope of the alternatives and environmental impacts and issues, and provides notice of public meeting. 

Excerpts from AVMA Response:

The AVMA fully supports scientifically based regulation at the federal, state, and local level which (1) facilitates the removal of all feral swine from private and public lands to safeguard and protect animal, human, and ecosystem health, and (2) funds research into scientific methods for control and eradication of the feral swine population.   The methods for removing feral swine populations should align with the  AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition and should pose less risk to public health, ecosystems, and non-target species than the feral swine do.

The AVMA urges APHIS to expand its federal collaborative base to include key agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  These agencies possess additional expertise and resources needed to optimize national or regional control efforts.  Additionally, collaboration with Canada and Mexico will better help control feral swine populations involving the respective borders.  Furthermore, the AVMA urges APHIS-WS to effectively integrate the overlapping disease control aspects of the feral swine damage management program with those of the APHIS-VS Swine Brucellosis / Pseudorabies (SB/PRV) program, which APHIS recently announced may be expanded to address risks posed by feral swine to domestic swine herds and public health.

The program should be funded appropriately and should not jeopardize the resources required for proper function of other programs pertaining to animal health and animal disease control.

The AVMA advocates safe and environmentally responsible disposal of animal carcasses, whether on an individual animal basis or during mass mortality events, and supports increased research and education towards the development of appropriate methods and guidelines for animal carcass disposal.  While burying and burning were discussed during the meeting, the AVMA urges APHIS-WS to consider composting as well as other feasible means of carcass disposal, recognizing that such are regulated by various authorities at multiple levels.

Background Documents:

Related AVMA Policies and Resources: