30-50 feral hogs

Or, dumb rhetorical flourishes all the way down

This special issue is brought to you by Twitter user @WillieMcNabb, whose question about what to do about his hog problem if his assault rifle was taken away launched one of the finest meme dogpiles (or hogpiles, mea culpa mea culpa) Twitter has seen in a long time.

Since this has been a long month (it’s the sixth, Lemon)–which is why this meme took off the way it did in any case, I thought I’d bring you a short special issue about, yes, feral hogs, illustrated by screenshots from this blessed event. At press time, people are still tweeting about 30-50 feral hogs, small kids, and 3-5 minutes, but these are merely the echos of a great euphoric whoop that happened late yesterday. Let it not be forgotten.

If you’re interested in “hogs, ferality and race in American history” head on over to this tweet thread from Duke University’s Gabriel Rosenberg. It’s interesting and well-written although I’m always kind of bummed out when academic authors only promote their own work in a tweet thread of this kind. Diverse citations are good citations!

Anyways. Let us speak briefly about the present suet-tuation (mea maxima culpa) of hogs in North America. Basically there are a lot of them, they’re invasive, and they can be found in 39 US states, 4 Canadian provinces, and a number of Mexican states. They eat crops and pretty much everything else, they can carry disease, they mess with native habitats and species, both plant and animal.

They’re not going anywhere, although some authorities are trying to dramatically reduce their numbers by killing up to two thirds of a given hog population each year. But that’s not simple and it’s certainly not going to be accomplished with a stupid .223 semi-automatic, but I digress. (If you want to yell at me about assault rifles, feel free, but you’re wasting your breath.)

What to do about the hogs is still very much an open question. Plus it’s not like they respect national borders, so unless all places with feral hogs get on the feral-hog-management train together, I’m not really sure how effective regional strategies will be.

This is a classic problem of our time: collective action is needed in the form of some kind of serious ongoing intervention involving animals, humans and technology, but somehow, it just doesn’t happen.

The tweet that set this whole thing off was just some dumb rhetorical flourish, like most tweets (mine included). But the hogs are a real problem!

Needless to say, however, relatively few people are killed by the hogs, although there are some–estimates put the number at 5-7 humans in the US per year. But the animals are a real problem, one that’s not going to get figured out with, for example, spraying herds of ‘em with guns from helicopters. But I digress.