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Feral hogs might make for a funny Twitter meme, but they do real damage.


USDA

For all who giggled last month at the idea of killer hogs invading homesteads that didn’t have guns to protect pets and kids, reality is about to set in. The US Agriculture Department’s Wildlife Services division says it’s gotten multiple reports of feral hogs in Canada closing in on Montana’s border. 

Before everyone panics, only eight hogs (not 30 to 50, as in the now-famous meme) have been spotted in the wild near the border. But the animals are still destructive enough to squeal about.

In August, when the pro- and anti-gun debate was going especially strong on Twitter, Jason Isbell suggested no one really needed to own an assault weapon, and another Twitter user, Willie McNabb, responded with, “Legit question for rural Americans – How do I kill the 30-50 feral hogs that run into my yard within 3-5 mins while my small kids play?”

Thus a feral-hog meme was born.  

Feral pigs are often called “rototillers” because they root around for their food in the soil, destroying crops and leaving farmland unrecognizable. They also tend to carry deadly diseases such as African swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease that can threaten domestic livestock.

“On the international scale, there have been very significant outbreaks of African swine fever,” Montana Department of Livestock veterinarian Tahnee Szymanski told Montana newspaper Daily Inter Lake. “Currently it is believed the disease doesn’t exist in Canada and we certainly hope to keep it that way. Our swine industry in Montana relies heavily on making sure diseases like this don’t come here.”

However, the US Department of Agriculture isn’t suggesting everyone stock assault rifles to kill off the feral hogs. In fact, it’s already working on gun-free solutions to remove feral swine “including the use of surveillance cameras, cage and corral traps, and aerial operations,” according to the USDA website

Alas, the feral-hog memes are now back in full force, with people demanding the US put up a boar-der wall (pun intended) to keep the wild swine out of the country. 

Here are some of my favorite feral-hog tweets:

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