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Swine nation

(article, Culinate staff)

Ever seen a boar? They don't look much like their soft, pink, cute, porcine relations inside the farm fence; they're dark and hairy, with fearsome tusks. They're aggressive, digging up crops and occasionally attacking humans. And, according to recent reports in the New York Times and the new ag mag Modern Farmer, they're taking over the world. 

In the U.S. alone, noted the Times, the feral-pig population has ballooned from under 2 million in 1990 to more than 6 million today:

bq. The swine are thought to have spread largely after escaping from private shooting preserves and during illegal transport by hunters across state lines. Experts on invasive species estimate that they are responsible for more than $1.5 billion in annual agricultural damage alone, amounting in 2007 to $300 per pig. The Agriculture Department is so concerned that it has requested an additional $20 million in 2014 for its Wildlife Services program to address the issue. 

And Modern Farmer called the pig problem a major planetary threat: "The issue is as serious as swine flu, with a global explosion of wild pigs destroying natural ecosystems, spreading disease, causing a billion dollars in agricultural damage, and proving themselves nearly impossible to combat."

Boar meat is tasty — but hunters can't keep up with the population explosion. So watch out for roaming pigs near you.