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In Connecticut, pigs are going hog wild and lawmakers are hoping to come up with solutions

Mark Coursey secures feral hogs in the transport trailer as part of the Harris County Precinct 3 feral hog trapping program at Barker-Addicks reservoir on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in Houston. The program is funded by federal grant for the purpose of reducing erosion along the waterways. The crew traps hogs, load into cages, and hauled off to the processing plant where their meat is inspected before donation to the Houston Food Bank. ( Mayra Beltran / Houston Chronicle ) (Photo by Mayra Beltran/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images)
Houston Chronicle
via Getty
FILE, 2014. Feral pigs have long been an issue in Texas (above) where a federally funded program delivered trapped hogs to a processing plant where their meat was inspected before being donated to the Houston Food Bank.

Wayward pigs are causing issues in some parts of Connecticut – and it’s become enough of an issue that state lawmakers are looking into how to deal with it.

The legislature’s environmental committee on Friday heard testimony on how much trouble roaming swine can cause. The committee is considering a bill to form a task force focused on roaming livestock.

“The last thing that we want in Connecticut is a population of feral pigs,” State Rep. Doug Dubitsky said. “They’re incredibly destructive, they’re very dangerous, they can run 30 miles an hour, they can be 6 or 700 pounds. They can kill you and they will eat you. It’s pretty nasty.”

State Sen. Heather Somers says bands of pigs are roaming her eastern Connecticut district, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damages to crops and lawns. She says the pigs are biting and chasing farmers.

“We have this continual problem,” Somers said. “Myself and another representative faced literally 60 farmers that were really unhappy about what’s happening. I don’t want to say farmers with pitchforks, but that’s sort of the idea.”

Somers says pigs are escaping farms and having offspring in the wild, and there isn’t a cut and dry way to legally deal with the problem. She’s advocating for a bill that would create a task force to study solutions.

In Texas, where feral pigs are a longtime problem, researchers estimate each pig causes upwards of $300 in damages per year.

State Rep. Francis Cooley says the issue is an urgent one.

“They essentially breed like rabbits and they’re incredibly elusive, and the amount of ecological damage they can do is phenomenal,” Cooley said.

Chris Polansky joined Connecticut Public in March 2023 as a general assignment and breaking news reporter based in Hartford. Previously, he’s worked at Utah Public Radio in Logan, Utah, as a general assignment reporter; Lehigh Valley Public Media in Bethlehem, Pa., as an anchor and producer for All Things Considered; and at Public Radio Tulsa in Tulsa, Okla., where he both reported and hosted Morning Edition.
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