U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Proceedings of the 14th WDM Conference (2012).


At the 13th Wildlife Damage Management Conference, the primary author delivered a paper titled “Is America ready for a humane feral pig ‘toxin’?” The toxin, sodium nitrite, a common meat preservative that prevents botulism, had previously been shown to be a quick-acting and low-residue toxicant for feral pigs in Australia and has since been patented. Pigs are particularly sensitive to nitrite-induced methemoglobinemia because they have low levels of methemoglobin reductase, the enzyme required to reverse the effects of nitrite toxicosis. Over the last two years, a great deal of progress has been made towards developing a nitrite bait and a suitable bait delivery vehicle for feral pigs. Field trials of Hog-Gone® in Australia are now complete and a registration dossier is currently being finalized. The dossier details the pharmacology and humaneness of nitrite toxicosis, pen and field trial efficacy, pen and field carcass residues, and the nontarget safety and environmental fate of nitrite. Nontoxic trials of smaller bite-sized Hog-Gone baits, delivered in the Hog-Hopper, are currently occurring in multiple sites and seasons in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. Results thus far are encouraging, and may lead to future trials if environmental safety is demonstrated. Concurrently, an Environmental Protection Agency registration dossier is being prepared to request the experimental-use permit needed for field trials of the formulated bait. Engagement with industry and animal welfare groups also continues to be positive. Detailed within, in brief, are the achievements of the last two years and the future of the project in Australia and the USA.