Jesse’s Ross Gazette Column: Wild Boar

The advent of the Chinese New Year in February: the year of the Pig. But for many people in and around Ross, the rapid rise in the number of feral pigs and boar is no cause for celebration.

These animals are a menace:  very big, very intelligent and often aggressive. They invade property, damage fencing, destroy farm crops and spread disease. Road accidents are a serious potential hazard.

There are many hundreds of them, and with the mild conditions their numbers are bound to grow.

What is the point of expensive measures to improve bio-security and disease control if a large boar population is able to roam increasingly freely?

The last thing local farmers need is to be shut down because of disease concerns. And of course there is a particular risk to outdoor pig keepers, including of special breeds.

There is much talk about producing better information for the public about why they should not feed feral pigs, but very little planning so far on how to manage their numbers. And there is a particular local problem on Forestry Commission land.

I will be meeting with Ministers at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs later this month to discuss the necessary updates that need to be made to the 2008 Feral Wild Boar Action Plan.

Bio-diversity is important. But so are disease control, food supplies and human livelihoods.