Feral Hogs: Bad for Missouri

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Published on: Sep. 2, 2008

Last revision: Dec. 9, 2010


Agricultural Concerns

Feral hogs are also a major concern to Missouri’s agriculture community. They damage and destroy row crops, root up hay and pasture land and damage tree plantings and other types of agriculture.

One of the biggest threats to agriculture is the potential transfer of disease from infected feral hogs to domestic swine herds. Feral hogs in other states are known to carry swine brucellosis and pseudorabies. Both of these diseases cause abortions in sows and high mortality in piglets.

Missouri’s domestic swine are considered diseasefree and a good source for safe, healthy pork products. However, an outbreak of swine brucellosis or pseudorabies from feral hogs into domestic swine could severely cripple Missouri’s pork industry, creating a negative economic impact that would affect the entire state.

Hogs and Disease

The spread of disease to people, pets and other livestock is another concern. Brucellosis, when contracted by humans, is known as undulant fever. Pseudorabies is not transferable to humans and is not related to rabies. Feral hogs have been documented in various studies to carry 30 significant viral and bacterial diseases and 37 parasites.

Feral hogs in Missouri are currently being tested for pseudorabies, brucellosis, tularemia and classical swine fever. Blood test kits are available at regional conservation offices at no charge to collect blood samples for disease testing.

We are fortunate not to have had an outbreak or serious issues with diseases from feral hogs. However, four cases of pseudorabies and brucellosis have been discovered in feral hogs in Missouri. In at least two of those cases, infected feral hogs were brought into the state for the purpose of hunting. Quick action from the Missouri Department of Agriculture helped stop these animals from spreading disease.

Eradication Efforts

Feral hogs are simply considered an invasive, exotic species. They are not wildlife and are not, therefore, under the control of the Conservation Department. Because they are not owned or confined, they also escape the regulations of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. This has complicated feral hog control and eradication efforts.

The Missouri departments of Conservation and Natural Resources, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are actively eradicating feral hogs on their respective properties and the properties of adjoining landowners. The U.S. Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service–Wildlife Services staff are assisting those efforts, in addition to helping private landowners eradicate hogs.

Hunters are also helping control Missouri’s feral hog numbers. However, hunting alone has not

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