MI DNR: Voluntary Inspections Continue to Protect Farms, Natural Resources Against Invasive Swine
On April 17 and 18, 2012, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conducted six inspections of properties that in the past may have possessed swine that are prohibited in Michigan. The compliance inspections were conducted with the full consent of the property owners. Each of the properties was found to be free of prohibited swine.
The inspections were the most recent action taken by the DNR to enforce a December 2010 Invasive Species Order declaring a particular species of swine prohibited in Michigan. To date the department has conducted a total of 18 voluntary compliance inspections to enforce the Invasive Species Order. All the inspections were conducted on game ranches and breeding facilities.
In addition, the DNR conducted an inspection with a court-issued administrative search warrant at Deer Tracks Ranch in Fife Lake, Michigan. No prohibited swine were found at Deer Tracks Ranch. Also, the DNR filed a civil complaint against the Renegade Ranch Hunting Preserve in Cheboygan County seeking the depopulation of prohibited swine on that property.
“Michigan residents know what can happen when an invasive species becomes established and grows. The Great Lakes offer convincing evidence of the terrible impact non-native organisms have on natural resources,” said DNR Director Rodney Stokes.
“The Invasive Species Order is an attempt to stop this latest invader before it devastates Michigan’s second largest industry, agriculture, and does significant damage to Michigan’s wildlife habitat and environment.”
The 2010 Invasive Species Order was put in place by the DNR director as mandated by state law. Part 413 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act requires the department to list a species as invasive if the organism is non-native, not naturalized, and “has the potential to harm human health or to harm natural, agricultural, or silvicultural resources.”
The Invasive Species Order applies to wild boar, wild hog, wild swine, feral pig, feral hog, feral swine, Old world swine, razorback, eurasian wild boar, Russian wild boar (Sus scrofa Linnaeus). The order does not apply to domestic swine, Sus domestica, in domestic hog production. A December 2011 declaratory ruling from the DNR details the physical characteristics used to identify prohibited swine.
The order went into effect Oct. 8, 2011. In order to give those in possession of prohibited swine every opportunity to come into compliance with the law, the department delayed enforcement of the order for an additional six months, until April 1, 2012.
“The department remains committed to enforcing the law while minimizing the impact on property owners,” said Stokes. “We will continue to work cooperatively with facility owners wherever we can to help them comply with the law.”
Those facilities, farms or individuals still in possession of prohibited swine are in violation of the law and could face criminal or civil penalties under Part 413 of the state’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.
More information about the Invasive Species Order and the problem of invasive swine in Michigan and across the country can be found at www.michigan.gov/feralswine.