Skip to Content

Ohio Legislature Takes First Step in Clamping Down on Feral Pigs

Dominant boar wild hog (feral pig) with tusks in the forest feeding. Image via depositphotos.

Ohio’s House of Representatives has unanimously passed House Bill 503, a critical piece of legislation aimed at controlling the population and movement of feral swine within the state. The bill, strongly supported by the Ohio Pork Council (OPC) and other agricultural groups, targets the importation, hunting, and feeding practices of these wild pigs to protect the state’s livestock industry.

The Growing Threat of Feral Swine

Wild boar, sus scrofa, looking to the camera in forest in sunlight. Large brown pig standing in woodland in spring light. Big mammal watching in green wilderness. Wild Boar Image via Depositphotos.

Feral swine are becoming a significant problem across Ohio, causing extensive damage to agriculture and posing a threat to livestock.

What House Bill 503 Entails

Wild Boar Image via Depositphotos.

House Bill 503 addresses key issues related to the management of feral swine, including prohibiting their importation and hunting, and outlawing the feeding of pigs with garbage.

The Role of the Ohio Pork Council

Baby wild boar
A baby Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) in a wildlife park in the Netherlands. Image via Sander van der Wel, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ohio Pork Council has been a major advocate for this legislation, aiming to protect domestic hog production from potential diseases carried by feral swine.

Prohibitions and Penalties Under the New Bill

A female warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) grazing with her piglets in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Image via Depositphotos.

The bill makes it illegal to own feral swine or wild boars and introduces strict penalties for releasing them into the wild or bringing them into the state.

Support from Agricultural Groups

warty pig looking for food
Young Visayan warty pig, San Diego Zoo, California, United States. Image via Jean from Shelbyville, KY, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Numerous agricultural groups in Ohio, including the Cattleman’s Association and the Soybean Association, support this legislation due to the threat feral swine pose to crops and livestock.

Concerns Over Disease Transmission

Visayan pig sniffing
rooting around for his favorite food. Image via Ltshears, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Feral swine are known to carry multiple diseases and parasites, which can infect both livestock and wildlife, raising significant health concerns.

Impact on Ohio’s Agriculture

The presence of feral swine has led to substantial damage to Ohio’s land, crops, and infrastructure, making this legislation vital for the state’s agricultural health.

Mike King on the Legislation

Razorback hog. NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Mike King, senior director of communication and public relations for the OPC, emphasizes that this legislation aims to curb the importation of feral swine for canned hunts and protect domestic hog production.

Notification Requirements for Landowners

Wild Boar Image via Depositphotos.

Under the bill, farmers or landowners who shoot a feral pig must notify USDA Wildlife Services within 24 hours to help track and manage the population.

House Vote and Senate Prospects

Dominant boar wild hog (feral pig) with tusks in the forest feeding. Image via depositphotos.

The bill passed the House with a unanimous 89-0 vote and now moves to the Senate, where bipartisan support is expected to help it become law.

Cheryl Day’s Optimism for the Senate

Image via depositphotos.

Cheryl Day, executive vice president of OPC, expresses optimism that the Senate will pass the bill, providing essential protections against foreign animal diseases.

Economic Impact of Feral Swine

Image via depositphotos.

Feral hogs are responsible for approximately $2.5 billion in agricultural damages each year across the United States, making their control a high priority.

Statements from Veterinary and Agricultural Leaders

Big adult wild boar at the edge of the forest. Image via depositphotos.

Leaders from the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association and other agricultural groups have testified about the dangers posed by feral swine, supporting the need for stringent controls.

The Broader Impact of HB 503

Juvenile wild hogs rooting, searching for food in the forest. Image via depositphotos.

Beyond disease control, the bill aims to reduce the overall ecological and economic impact of feral swine on Ohio’s environment and agriculture.

Next Steps for the Legislation

Large adult boar (male wild hog) in the forest. Image via depositphotos.

The next step for HB 503 is Senate approval, which will finalize the state’s strategy to manage feral swine populations effectively.

Join our Forum for free today!

Animal Forum
Click Here
Grizzly Bear Spotted Feet From Alaskan Campsite Top 10 States With The Most Cougar Top 10 States With The Most Moose Top 10 States With The Most Coyote Top 10 States With The Most Elk