Is the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wrong For Mass-Killing Pigs?

Many reports are suggesting that a new law in Michigan, effective April 1, 2012, makes many of Michigan’s pig farmers felons for owning or raising pigs now classified in the books as “feral swine” and could face arrest or jail if they are not destroyed.

An October 10, 2011 post on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources states: “A Department of Natural Resources director’s order listing sporting swine as an invasive species took effect over the weekend on Oct. 8, making it illegal to possess the animals in Michigan. “Absent a regulatory program in Michigan law for sporting swine facilities, the invasive species order is being put into effect,” said DNR Director Rodney Stokes. Stokes said active enforcement of the invasive species order will not start prior to April 1, 2012, with compliance visits to swine shooting and breeding facilities planned after that date. Sporting swine facilities can use the next six months to schedule hunts to reduce the population of sporting swine on their properties. Facilities still in possession of sporting swine on April 1, 2012, may face violations and fines.

Many reporting sources are calling enforcement of the new law, with caravans of armed response teams deployed to investigate and shakedown suspect raisers with such stock and even interrogating customers of suspected raisers to locate farm property, as far too drastic and traumatic.

Although the ruling, which specifically bans species Sus scrofa or “wild boar” and may be a genuinely well-thought ruling designed to eliminate the threat of a feral animal that is susceptible to human-contagious diseases and has been known to destroy natural resources and man-made cropland, as described by a 3-part academic documentary “A Pickup Load of Pigs” produced by Mississippi State University (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) the technique of enforcement in Michigan seems to me to be poorly executed. The real strategy would be education and instruction of the dangers for raising this variety of stock and introduction to viable or otherwise hardy replacement species and access to legitimate stock sources so that a controlled swap could be developed instead of blunt, indiscriminate annihilation of an entire farm’s stock.

A problem with the style of enforcement going on is the broadness of the description for the wild boar species, only needing to find one single aspect of the multi-faceted description, rather than finding all aspects in suspected species — similar to suggesting that to identify a human would be to note the presence of opposable thumbs, although monkeys like chimps and orangutan species possess them.

Another problem, though, is the farmers who resist education and instead operate purely on pride of their stock instead of listening to the genuine arguments presented, such as it would appear to me in this gentleman’s video. What this man says, in a nonsensical way is that essentially, “look at my innocent children, you will be hurting them” kind of reasoning, instead of simply changing the species of pig he raises.

The transition seems fairly simple to me (although IANA pig farmer) but pride, rather than thought-out reasoning other than “blah blah my family” seems to rule this gent’s refusal to adapt to the new ruling. This is akin to my travels in Kenya and meeting people who, despite education that the stagnant water they draw refreshment from is contaminated with filth, refuse to relocate because their grandfather and their grandfather’s grandfather drank from that nasty water hole.

This gentleman also voices suspicion of a connection I’ve found in many of the comments for feral pig videos, that conspiracy with major pork producer associations in Michigan are what influenced this decision, although I’ve been able to find little (only citing more speculation) that establishes a genuine connection — although the Michigan DNR themselves cite cooperation with a national program by the USDA to trap and hunt this species on a much broader scale than just a Michigan pork conspiracy.

There’s another pretty good write-up here with a balanced approach. Please add comments with other articles you’ve found, or chime in..

Should the Lylah Rose Burned-Hand Story Be Major News? Not really.

The following Facebook forward is making the rounds:

This is a friend of mines 2 month old niece Lylah Rose! We took her to the merced er cause she was having diarreah they told me she was dehydrated and need an IV. They were trying to find a vein and put a light on her palm to see through her hand. Where they tried 14 times to get an iv in and blew 3 veins!!!! They held her hand on the light for over 8 min where my neice was SCREAAAMING the whole time!!!! When my sister finally demanded them to stop and send them to valley childrens! When they finally lifted up her hand the Dr or nurse seen the burn and wrapped her hand up with gause!! Failing to even let my sister know they had burned her!! We realized when we got to Valley childrens she had a HUGE bubble on the palm of her hand that had popped from the tape being placed on it!! My sis took her to the Dr. today to get it checked out & the Dr. said these are second degree burns and is sending my sis to a burn specialist where they are going to have to remove the dead and dying skin from her hand!!! 😦 I have contacted the local newspaper, the local news station who are ALL denying to write a story about what happened! I can’t let this slide! Please help share our story! We can be her voice!! I don’t want them to be able to do this to anyone else!! WILL YOU HELP US KMPH FOX 26 and get justice for lylah and expose the truth? THIS IS NEWS THAT MATTERS. Merced Hospital is trying to cover this up. If this isn’t newsworthy I don’t know what is!

Is this news that matters? Not yet, I think. They way it’s been presented is important to the uncontrollably emotional, perhaps, but not to the majority of the news-watching audience I think.

What appears to me is actually a case of people, at the center of an issue that strikes at the heart of their world, throwing accusations of misconduct and cover-up, without actually investigating the true story. The story is just a stream of raw emotion so far. How is it a cover-up? What was this woman thinking jumping from one hospital to the next, in a whirlwind of frenzy? Do people really think like this?

The real news story is if legal action is being filed, and from the opinion of someone who isn’t red in the face with fury. The news agency in question, KMPH in the San Joaquin Valley of California (Fresno, Bakersfield, etc), could very well just be gathering intel or trying to formulate a calm, sensible narrative amidst the madness presented. Investigations aren’t quick, and in-depth reporting on something like a situation in which legal action could be viably brought, aren’t either. It takes time. Lunatics who demand action are looking in the wrong place. A news medium is an observer of actions taken, not one who takes the action.

My suggestion is to formalize the story. Provide dates, locations, diagnoses, provide documentation, cite witnesses, etc. The “MY BABY WAS ABUSED” method just makes you look like a complete idiot and not worth the time of day. If chipped-shouldered mothers discovered that news agencies accepted stories from raving lunatics as the only source and broadcasted them, the station would get flooded by every Tom Talebearer, Dick Doorknocker, and Susie Sassflinger about this-and-that over perceived injustice they heard from their mother’s brother’s uncle Charlie back in Saskatoon about your aunt Margaret.

edit:, april 2, 2012 KMPH FOX 26, a station that many of the more blabbery supporters of this cause has harassed about failing to report on the story, issued the following statement:

Thank you very much for taking the time to contact us. In order for us to do this story, we must be able to speak with the family and the hospital. We have contacted both. The family referred us to an attorney who will not discuss the case and the hospital will not comment due to patient protection laws. We do appreciate your concern and thank you for taking the time to share this story with us.

another edit; April 2, 2012
Someone claiming to be the original author of the post, in the comments below, suggests we visit the Being The Voice For Lylah Rose Facebook page for up-to-date info and additional pictures.