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October 22, 2013

New York Governor Signs Critical Legislation on Invasive Wild Pigs

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation prohibiting the importation, possession, sale or release of Eurasian boar, wild pigs and their hybrids. The law phases out high-fenced shooting enclosures and breeders from stocking these animals by 2015, and immediately prohibits importation or release of the animals. Violators would be fined $500 to more than $1,000.

A. 3767/S. 5733, sponsored by Assemblymember Deborah Glick, D-New York, and Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, had an unusually broad and diverse coalition of supporters concerned about the humane treatment of wild pigs and their impacts on native wildlife populations and agriculture.

Brian Shapiro, New York state director for The Humane Society of the United States said: “We applaud Governor Cuomo, Assemblymember Glick, Senator Little and the legislature for enacting a law to help protect our native wildlife and farms. Animals escaping from fenced shooting facilities led directly to the establishment of these wild populations in New York. Addressing this issue at its source is the most logical, humane and cost effective solution.”

Assemblymember Deborah Glick said: “These animals are an invasive species that have already begun to severely damage native plants and wildlife, livestock, agriculture, and public health. For several years, this environmental and public health concern has been growing. I am thrilled that my efforts to sound the alarm have resulted in passage of this critical legislation.”

Sen. Little said: “When we talk about invasive species, feral swine aren’t what comes to the minds of most people first, but these are very destructive animals that can cause a lot of problems and be very difficult to control. Eurasian boar have been reported in a majority of upstate counties, including the North Country.  They not only destroy natural landscape, but also agricultural lands and carry disease transmissible to humans and livestock and other animals. These are highly intelligent predators and we need a highly effective response.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, “Escape of swine from shooting preserves, breeding facilities and intentional releases of swine by hunters interested in pursuing them in New York are factors that need to be considered if the eradication efforts in the state are to be successful.”

The Humane Society of the United States joined Audubon New York, Catskill Mountain Keeper, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, the United States Department of Agriculture and other organizations in strong support of this necessary legislation.   

Facts

  • Also known as wild pigs or feral swine, Eurasian boars are notorious for escaping their fenced enclosures and establishing breeding populations in the wild. Their rooting behavior can damage sensitive ecosystems and farmland.
  • Eurasian boars have been found in 38 states around the country, and eradication efforts through hunting have been largely unsuccessful. 
  • Wild pigs can spread diseases such as pseudorabies and brucellosis, which threaten domestic livestock populations.
  • The USDA estimates that feral pigs inflict more than one billion dollars in damages every year.
  • Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill June 7, 2013 that would prohibit the importation and possession of wild pigs. Michigan and Kansas also recently took action to prohibit captive hunting of wild pigs.
  • Eurasian boars are often bred for captive shoots, where they are stocked inside fenced enclosures for hunting targets.

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

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