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Vermont Governor Cracks Down on Cruel and Unsporting Captive Pig Hunts

Gov. Peter Shumlin signed legislation that prohibits the importation and possession of wild pigs and their hybrids into law.  House Bill 101, introduced by Rep. David Deen, D-Windham, bans feral pigs from captive hunts – fenced pens where trophy-seekers pay to shoot the trapped animals for guaranteed kills.

“We applaud Governor Shumlin, Representative Deen, and the legislature for working to stop this problem at its source – the captive hunts – before it gets out of hand,” said Joanne Bourbeau, Northeast Regional Director for The HSUS.  “States across the country are increasingly looking for ways to close their borders to these highly adaptable, non-native animals, and Vermont has taken a much-needed step in the right direction.”

Wild pigs often escape their enclosures on captive hunts, and can quickly establish breeding populations that can spread diseases to native wildlife populations and livestock, threatening the agriculture industry. The rooting behavior of wild pigs can also damage sensitive ecosystems and farmland. The animals have been found in 38 states around the country, and eradication efforts through hunting have been largely unsuccessful. 

•    The USDA estimates that feral pigs inflict more than one billion dollars in damages every year.
•    Wild pigs can spread diseases such as pseudorabies and brucellosis, which threaten domestic livestock populations.
•    Wild pigs on captive hunts are often killed using incredibly cruel methods, including knives, spears and packs of dogs that chase down the animal.
•    Michigan and Kansas recently took action to prohibit captive hunting of wild pigs and legislation is currently pending in New York that would prohibit the possession and importation of wild pigs.
•    Animals in captive hunts are stocked inside fenced enclosures, allowing ranches to often offer guaranteed trophies, “100 percent success” rates and advertise "no kill, no pay" policies.
•    Captive hunts are generally reviled by the hunting community nationwide for violating the principle of fair chase. Hunting groups such as the Boone and Crockett Club and the Pope and Young Club, which maintain trophy records for big game hunting, will not consider animals shot at captive hunts for inclusion on their record lists.

Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 301-721-6463; ksanderson@humanesociety.org

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