Monday, 30 April 2012

Opponents: State's crackdown on invasive wild boar is a pig in a poke

By Tina Lam

Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

They're huge, they're invasive, they reproduce quickly, they eat everything in sight and now, they're illegal.

Sound like Asian carp?

Nope, these are wild Russian or Eurasian boars and their relatives, illegal to possess in Michigan as of April 1. But the backlash against a new order that designated them an illegal invasive species has gone viral on property-rights and natural-foods websites across the country.

Hunting ranches that stock the boars and some pig farmers who raise specialty breeds that have some boar-like characteristics say the new rule will wipe out their business, and they are fighting back.

Since April 1, when enforcement of the new rule began, the Department of Natural Resources has searched two ranches with warrants and inspected 18 others to make sure all their wild boars were destroyed or sold. Three ranches and a pig farmer have filed separate lawsuits, saying the new law violates their constitutional rights.

Internet sites have painted the DNR as a government agency out of control, bringing in jackbooted, weapons-carrying officers to take private property and turn farmers into felons.

"I am hereby calling for the armed citizens' arrest of DNR officials who must be brought to justice for their crimes against Michigan farmers," said the editor of NaturalNews.com.

"That's very irresponsible rhetoric," said DNR spokesman Ed Golder. Officers do carry guns but despite assertions, the DNR has arrested no one and has shot no pigs, he said.

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