Ohio House passes feral swine, garbage feeding bill

Bill does allow landowners to shoot feral pigs without license.

Compiled by staff

June 13, 2024

2 Min Read

A bill prohibiting the importation and hunting of feral swine and ending the practice of garbage feeding has passed the Ohio House by a vote of 89-0. H.B. 503 does allow a property owner or tenant to eradicate wild boar or feral swine on private or public property without a hunting license, if the person notifies the state’s division of wildlife within 24 hours and follows the division’s instructions for handling and disposing of the carcass.

Feral swine can carry at least 30 prominent viral and bacterial diseases and nearly 40 parasites that can impact people, pets, livestock and wildlife. Ohio Wildlife Services routinely samples for classical swine fever, pseudorabies and swine brucellosis. Ecological and economic losses from feral swine damage in the U.S are estimated to be greater than $1.5 billion annually, when combined with control costs.

Feral swine, as well as the practice of garbage feeding, pose serious disease risks to the state as well as the nation’s swine herd, including the possibility of introducing African swine fever.

“By outlawing the hunting and importation of feral swine into the state, Ohio will continue to be a national leader in the agriculture and animal health industries,” Ohio Veterinary Medical Association Executive Director Christopher Henney noted in written testimony. “This bill is a significant step in the right direction for Ohio and OVMA is proud to support this effort.”

The bill was introduced by Reps. Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) and Don Jones (R-Freeport) in May and was supported by the Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Cattleman’s Association, Ohio Soybean Association,  Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, Ohio Poultry Association, and Ohio Dairy Producers Association.

In his final remarks immediately prior to the final House vote, Jones thanked the Ohio Pork Council for its leadership on this important legislation. “It’s our hope that this bill will stop from happening here in Ohio what has occurred in other states with feral swine and to protect our animals and farmers ability to produce quality food.”

“This bill will help us keep ‘bringing home the bacon’ because it is proactive, not reactive for the state of Ohio,” said Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland). “We are trying to make sure that we are setting the right standards as an agricultural state.”

The bill will now head to the Senate for committee hearings before a possible floor vote.

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