There’s a threat making its way through the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and we need your help to stop it. We’re going to share with you why the bill represents good intentions, but it will not work - and will hurt a lot of people if it passes.
Introduced to the Oklahoma House of Representatives on February 2, 2015, House Bill 1104 is a proposed law regarding feral swine that would require certain persons to kill all feral swine upon capture. You can read the bill and summary here.
The population of feral swine needs to be controlled. No one is arguing against it. In fact, we applaud our leaders in Oklahoma City, and from around the state, for their concern. But, in their attempt to streamline the control method by legislating that trappers kill their animals inside the trap, there are two major problems.
First, several industries will be negatively impacted. Second, and perhaps most important, the bill will actually have an effect that’s the opposite of what they intend.
Negative Impact on Industries
So how will HB1104 negatively impact several industries? Here’s how:
- Sporting Companies: Companies like Hog Wild would lose the primary source of animals. This could put companies like ours out of business. While this is certainly of concern for us, there’s more.
- Lodging and Hotels: Hog Wild brings in a number of visitors to the OKC area every month. Our clients stay in OKC and pay for lodging. Restaurants and Grocery: Our clients eat in OKC and frequent local restaurants and grocery stores.
- Feed Mills: Hog Wild uses approximately 10,000 lbs of corn every year. That’s roughly $15,000 per year. In talking with another sporting company owner, he spends roughly $30,000/yr at a feed mill in his community, and that’s just two of us.
- Trappers: Finally, the trappers themselves will be hurt. (This is also why the legislation will completely fail the citizens of Oklahoma if passed.)
If you’re a trapper, you earn a living by serving farmers and land owners to remove feral hogs from their property. You also earn a living by selling those captured animals to sporting companies like Hog Wild. If you no longer have animals to sell, you no longer receive income. Do you see where this is going?
The Big Picture about HB1104 Starts with Trappers
What happens when trappers are unable cover expenses (like transportation, fuel, equipment, maintenance and upkeep)? Does a business that can’t make money stay in business? When they stop trapping, population will be allowed to grow unchecked.
Proponents of the bill will cite allowing boars to be sold once castrated as a reasonable allowance for this bill to pass. Unfortunately for the trappers, this doesn’t add up. Approximately 60-70% of all trapped swine are sows. The bill would require that they be destroyed in the trap. This means that 60-70% of the revenue trappers would have received from the sale to sporting facilities is taken away.
Ultimately, this bill that was intended to control feral hog population will inadvertently increase the population exponentially as trappers stop trapping and unchecked hogs are free to roam.
In the last few days, we’ve talked to US Representative, Steve Russell, Bobby Cleveland (House Representative, District 20), and many others who are working to help logic prevail, but we need your help too!
What can you do?
- Sign this petition.
- Call your legislator and tell him or her you’re against HB 1104 (feel free to refer them to this article for the reason why).
- Contact the members of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee to let your voice be heard.
Status of the Bill (as of publication, as reported by openstates.org):
February 2, 2015 - House First Reading
February 2, 2015 - House Authored by Representative Biggs
February 3, 2015 - House Second Reading referred to Agriculture and Rural Development