Mich. ‘Feral Swine’ Farmer Calls for Resignation of DNR Officials and Others

Farmer Mark Baker was on Doc Thompson‘s radio show today and he has a message he hopes will shake those in Michigan’s state capital. It is: “We’re not letting up. We’re not letting our family farms go.”

If you’re wondering what Baker, who runs the farm Bakers Green Acres in Michigan, is referring to, he’s talking with Thompson – a man whose voice you may recognize as a fill-in for Glenn Beck at times – about the recent enactment of the “feral swine” ban within the state. As of April 1, those in Michigan raising certain species of pigs deemed non-native for meat or for sport hunting were required to have disposed of their livestock, according to the Invasive Species Order passed in 2010.

(Related: Feral fight: Family battles Mich. over ban that will kill livestock and livelihood)

On the show, Baker calls for Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Environment officials to resign and also for the Invasive Species Order to be canceled. He says, “I want it done by the end of the week.”

Mich. Farmer Mark Baker Calls for Resignation of DNR Director and Others Over Feral Swine Ban
Mich. Farmer Mark Baker Calls for Resignation of DNR Director and Others Over Feral Swine Ban

Characteristics of non-native, "feral" swine. (Image: MDNR)

The DNR instituted the ban on the pigs in the first place citing crop and environmental damage and their ability to carry disease. Baker states the DNR has provided little evidence as to the extreme invasive nature of the species that the department would have some believe. Baker alludes to the DNR stating about 8,000 feral swine are within the state, but DNR’s website actually estimates there are between 2,000 to 3,000. Although, it does consider them to have “prolific breeding practices.”

Baker acknowledges that feral animals can be destructive to the environment, but he believes if feral pigs were really a problem within the state, more evidence of their damage would be seen. He also brings up the destructive nature of deer. “I don’t hear the DNR saying we need to do away with deer, and I mean everyone knows how much damage they do.”

As of right now, the DNR is continuing to conduct “voluntary” inspections of farms that previously had the now banned swine. Last week, we reported some farmers felt their rights were violated over “armed raids” conducted on their property to search for the hogs. The Detroit News recently reported on one of these inspections and the events that followed:

“They were heritage pigs,” said [owner of Deer Tracks Ranch Dave] Tuxbury, 59. “They were black, hybrid Duroc pigs, and a better-tasting animal. The DNR sent me notification that I had to kill all my livestock. If they found any on my property, they were going to arrest me as a felon.”


A judge last week, however, ruled on a DNR lawsuit, saying a ranch in Cheboygan County could allow paid hunts to kill off its remaining animals but could buy no more feral swine. The DNR can also conduct an inspection in another month.

According to the DNR, the visits are necessary to stop the spread of the Russian/Eurasian hogs that went feral after escaping the preserves and farms.

Tuxbury, who said he was unsure what type of pig was bred with his Durocs, made inspectors from the DNR get a search warrant. The DNR and Tuxbury said the inspection was cordial.

“We searched his property and found no prohibited swine,” DNR spokesman Ed Golder said. “There is a lot of distorted information going around out there. There was no raid, no SWAT gear. We haven’t invaded one farm or killed one animal.

(Related: Report: Mich. DNR stages ‘armed raids’ to enforce ‘feral swine’ ban)

The DNR recently released a statement saying there were no raids nor did they violate any constitutional rights in their conducting of farm inspections.

Mich. Farmer Mark Baker Calls for Resignation of DNR Director and Others Over Feral Swine Ban
Mich. Farmer Mark Baker Calls for Resignation of DNR Director and Others Over Feral Swine Ban

Piglets of banned species have striped coats. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Baker ponders in the radio show, “I wonder if there is a higher entity here that wants to see family farms shut down, because if you can control the food, you can control the people.” Some speculation as to who this could be has included the larger corporate pork industry.

It should be noted that while Michigan was the first to begin enforcing legislation against feral swine, other states have considered similar measures as well. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also estimates the feral swine population is about 4 million in the 39 states in which they’ve been spotted.

Listen to the short radio clip for all of Baker’s interview:

Learn more about the feral swine ban in Michigan here.

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