Among the items on the Animal Industry Board’s Monday, March 20 agenda is a “proposal for changes to captive nondomestic mammal possession rules to allow for possession of nondomestic swine.”
Hang on: if one possesses a “non-domestic” critter, is the critter not “domestic”?
The non-domestic swine up for Animal Industry Board discussion appear to be red river hogs—potamochoerus porcus. That’s not “Red River” as in going to Fargo and Grand Forks; that’s “red” as in fur color and “river” as in where these wild hogs like to hang out. These sometime-agricultural pests are native to tropical Africa.
According to the AIB’s Nomvember 29, 2016, minutes, Randy Krueger of Pukwana, producer of “alternative livestock” at Spectrum Ranch, has purchased a couple of “Red River Forest Hogs.” His hogs are currently at a Minnesota zoo, but he’d like to bring them to South Dakota. Alas, ARSD 12:68:18:03.01 forbids possession of non-domesticated members of the family Suidae, including Krueger’s two potamochoerus porcuses (hey, biologists—am I allowed the pleasure of saying potamochoeri porci?), except by temporary permit or zoo permit. The temporary permit is good for only 14 days; the zoo permit is available only to non-profit critter exhibitors. Krueger would like to be able to bring his red river hogs to his for-profit operation.
Whatever rule changes the AIB drafts for Krueger, they’ll likely include at least an admonishment to build a good fence around those not-so-little piggies. Nobody wants wild hogs going really wild: descendants of domestic swine and imported wild Eurasian boars cause $1.5 billion in damage and control costs in the U.S. In South Carolina, wild hogs cause $44 million in crop, livestock, and timber losses and $71 million in non-crop damage per year. The most recent articles I can find say wild hogs aren’t a problem in South Dakota, although their habitat has expanded to more states and Canada. A January 2017 study finds that, thanks to climate change, invasive wild pigs could spread to most U.S. counties within three to five decades.