A bunch of fancy pigs may get the axe in Michigan on Sunday, and I'm feeling a strong sense of solidarity with these imperiled bacon factories. Let me explain.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is trying to get rid of feral pigs by going after people who keep boars that might be able to survive in the wild. An order has been issued which mandates the killing of all such swine by April 1, at which point the DNR "hope[s] to be invited onto farms voluntarily. We will be doing inspections" to make sure the forbidden breeds—classified as invasive species—are no longer around.
But there is some confusion about whose porkers will be legal come Fools Day. Naturally, there are exceptions built in for the breeds favored by the huge factory farms. But heritage breeds are in blurrier territory. And that has some farmers freaked out about their livelihoods:
The breeders of Mangalitsa pigs, for instance, were concerned that their animals might fall under the ISO, Golder said. A letter from DNR director Rodney Stokes states in part, "It is the DNR's understanding that purebred Mangalitsa swine do not exhibit characteristics listed in the Declaratory Ruling, other than potentially striped piglets. The Invasive Species Order would not prohibit purebred Mangalitsa swine based solely on this characteristic."
However, in the event that breeders have crossed Mangalitsas with Eurasian wild boar or any of the swine outlawed under the ISO, those hybrid animals would still be prohibited, Golder said.
This particular story caught my attention because I have something in common with those swine set for the chopping block. The first part of my last name (Mangu) may derive from the Romanian name of these medium-sized pigs prized for their fatness. That makes me a Mangalitsa crossbreed—the Wards definitely qualify as wild Eurasian stock. All which adds up to staying the heck away from the Great Lakes State for the time being. (No one likes to be called an invasive species, you know? Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
Watch one Michigan pig farmer defend his product, my cousins, and make hogwash joke around the 4:00 minute mark:
Via alert reader Tom Niedringhaus.