Urge Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller to cancel use of warfarin laced bait

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Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has approved the use of a poisoned bait that he says may herald a "hog apocalypse" in a state where an estimated 2.5 million hogs roam.

His intent is for the bait to be laced with warfarin, which is used as a blood thinner but has proven lethal to hogs. The bait will be infused with a toxic amount of warfarin, the same ingredient used in blood clot prevention medicine for humans.

It is probably safe to assume that public hearings across the state where citizen input is heard were not conducted, nor a call for written public input, or an environmental impact statement prepared.

This announcement will allow the use of bait to be laced with warfarin, across Texas. If bait is to be applied in areas used for grazing, all livestock must be removed and excluded from baited areas before applying this product and for at least 90 days after toxic baits are removed from bait dispensers.

Much is at stake: It will increase the risk to livestock, grazing lands (whether fenced or open), rangeland, forests, non-crop areas, and crop lands -- that will threaten habitat for imperiled wildlife, from bald eagles and the red-cockaded woodpecker to the southwestern willow flycatcher and the golden-cheeked warbler.

While the acute avian toxicity of warfarin indicates that it is practically non-toxic to game birds. In subacute studies, warfarin ranged from moderately toxic to practically non-toxic to upland game birds and waterfowl. Another source indicated that a mallard duck study was performed with a 10% formulation of warfarin. This formulation of warfarin was considered moderately toxic to mallard ducks when administered as a single dose. However, when exposed for a period of 14 days, 4 out of 5 ducks died.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency:

This product may be toxic to fish, birds and other wildlife. Dogs and other predatory and scavenging mammals and birds might be poisoned if they feed upon animals that have eaten the bait. Do not apply this product directly to water, to areas where surface water is present or to intertidal areas below the mean high-water mark. Do not contaminate water when disposing of equipment wash waters.

Please act now to urge Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller to cancel this use of warfarin laced bait and protect our way of life, wildlife, water, and communities from harm.

Photo: Robert Bailey/Audubon Photography Awards



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