Multiple state agencies, conservation groups and common-sense hunters went hog wild over the potential use of a controversial toxicant to kill feral hogs in recent months.
All that hubbub ultimately led to Scimetrics Ltd. Corp. — the maker of Kaput Feral Hog Bait — to withdraw its registration of the warfarin-based product in Texas on Monday.
A three-paragraph statement released by the Colorado-based company details exactly why the decision was made:
“We have received tremendous support from farmers and ranchers in the State of Texas, and have empathy for the environmental devastation, endangered species predation, and crop damage being inflicted there by a non-native animal. However, under the threat of many lawsuits, our family owned company cannot at this time risk the disruption of our business and continue to compete with special interests in Texas that have larger resources to sustain a lengthy legal battle,” the statement reads.
“The Kaput Feral Hog Bait label has been approved by the U.S. EPA, which requires meeting stringent testing and documentation requirements,” the statement continues. “To meet these high standards, many years of work have gone into developing and proving the safety and effectiveness of Kaput Feral Hog Bait. We had hoped to provide this valuable new resource to the farmers of Texas, whose crops and land have been devastated by the estimated 2.5 million feral hogs in the state. We had also hoped to alleviate the risk posed by the many diseases these hogs carry being transmitted to both the livestock and the food supply of Texas, by offering an alternative solution to current programs that cannot keep up with the quickly growing feral hog population.
“Unfortunately, we have discontinued our attempts to provide this resource in Texas at this time. We are grateful for the support we have received from the agricultural community of Texas.”
Back in March, Scimetrics issued a news release touting the lethality of Kaput on wild hogs, which has the same active ingredient as the blood thinner Coumadin. The release also had some other information detailing the amount of toxicant it would allegedly take to kill other species.
“Laboratory studies with warfarin were performed using the bait, in all cases using 5-10 times the warfarin concentration of the hog bait,” according to the statement. “The results showed no effects to scavenging birds, ferrets, alligators, ducks, and bobwhite quail. The US EPA classifies warfarin as ‘practically non-toxic to birds.’
“How much Kaput Feral Hog Bait would be required to harm a turkey?” the statement continued. “For a 15.4-lb bird, 29 lbs of bait eaten daily for 19 days; bobwhite quail, 27.5 lbs of bait eaten daily; a 44-lb dog, 13.2 lbs a day for 5 days; an 880-lb steer would have to eat 3520 lbs daily for 5 days. The lower the dose of any chemical, the lower the risk. When a person uses Kaput Feral Hog Bait according to label instructions mandated by the EPA, the risk of harming other animals is greatly reduced.”
A state district judge in March issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and the Texas Department of Agriculture from implementing the use of Kaput.
Texas Parks & Wildlife, in a short statement after Miller’s February move to implement an emergency rule approving Kaput for use, noted that it effectively was not consulted and had yet to issue a scientific position on the poisoning of hogs with warfarin-based products.