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Bacon preservative tested as feral hog poison

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Photo - In this April 30, 2012 photo provided by trapperjohnschmidt.com, a feral hog caught by trapper John Schmidt is caged in New Orleans. An estimated 5 million swine, descendants of both escaped domestic pigs and wild Eurasian boars imported by hunters, do about $800 million in damage a year to farms nationwide. Damage outside farms and population control bring the annual total to $1.5 billion. (AP Photo/trapperjohnschmidt.com, John Schmidt)
In this April 30, 2012 photo provided by trapperjohnschmidt.com, a feral hog caught by trapper John Schmidt is caged in New Orleans. An estimated 5 million swine, descendants of both escaped domestic pigs and wild Eurasian boars imported by hunters, do about $800 million in damage a year to farms nationwide. Damage outside farms and population control bring the annual total to $1.5 billion. (AP Photo/trapperjohnschmidt.com, John Schmidt)
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A preservative used to cure bacon is being tested as poison for feral hogs.

Scientists with U.S. Department of Agriculture say sodium nitrite may be the best chance for controlling the big, prolific animals, which cost the U.S. about $1.5 billion a year— including $800 million in farm damage.

Vance Taylor of Brooksville, Mississippi, hires a hunter and sometimes heaps corn away from his fields to distract feral hogs. He says they cost him 40 to 60 acres of corn and soybeans annually and once rooted up about 170 acres of sprouting corn.

Sodium nitrite is more toxic to pigs than people. It's used to kill feral swine in Australia and New Zealand.

USDA scientists say sodium nitrite tests are a top priority in a new $20 million control program.

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