FAX PETITION: Stop the Unjust Slaughter of Heritage Breeds in Michigan & Potentially Nationwide
By signing this petition, a FAX will be sent to Governor Snyder -- You may add your comments below. Property rights, the livelihoods of small farmers and freedom of food choice are under attack in Michigan. In a brazen power grab threatening the livelihood of small farmers across the state, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is using the state Invasive Species Act to expand its jurisdiction beyond hunting and fishing to farming operations. Even pet pigs are imperiled.
On April 1, 2012, an Invasive Species Order (ISO) that DNR issued in 2010 went into effect. The ISO prohibits the possession of various breeds of swine; DNR claims that the order is necessary "to help stop the spread of feral swine and the disease risk they pose to humans, domestic pigs, and wildlife as well as their potential for extensive agricultural and ecosystem damage."
DNR clearly stated in a Declaratory Ruling that it would determine whether a pig is "feral" based on the animal's physical characteristics (phenotypes). Using these characteristics, any pig in the state--wild or domestic--would be declared "feral" and therefore an "invasive species". Instead of using a common sense definition of "feral swine" being pigs who breed and roam in wild and unfenced public and private lands--not including pigs raised under the husbandry of humans--DNR has issued an order that makes heritage breed hogs raised on small farms and pigs raised in contained, high fence private hunting preserves prohibited swine.
The ISO allows DNR to seize and destroy heritage breeds of pigs raised by Michigan farmers; DNR will not compensate farmers whose pigs are destroyed. Possession of prohibited swine after April 1 is a felony with penalties of up to two years in jail and $20,000 in fines per violation.
People protesting the ISO have been told that DNR is seeking voluntary compliance from farmers; but DNR is currently trying to get court orders in two counties to force farmers to depopulate their heritage breed hogs. Pet owners in a third county have been sued by DNR as well. Hogs have already been needlessly killed due to the ISO. Hog owners are left with the choice of either losing their property or becoming felons.
This is a national issue. Other states are watching what is happening in Michigan and will implement similar orders if DNR can get away with this ruse.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Send a FAX now demanding Governor Snyder to rescind this unconstitutional ISO. Follow up with phone calls; let Gov. Snyder (517-335-7858) know that we will not let up until justice is rendered and the ISO rescinded.
The following bold statements will preface the personal message you type in the comment box below.
Subject: Rescind DNR's Swine ISO
Dear Governor Snyder,
The Michigan DNR has issued an Invasive Species Order (ISO) on Michigan swine and a Declaratory Ruling interpreting the order that includes a prohibitively broad definition of what constitutes "invasive swine".
1. DNR needs to repeal the ISO; all swine that are under the husbandry of humans regardless of how they are raised should be excluded from any definition of "feral" or "invasive" swine.
2. The order violates property rights and the right to make a living. Farmers and other hog owners in Michigan must either get rid of their now "prohibited" property or become felons.
3. The order effectively eliminates genetic diversity in the hog population leaving the less hardy pigs raised in the confined animal feeding operations.
4. The order denies consumers their rights to access foods of their choice.
5. DNR has twisted the language in turning an otherwise domestic pig into a "feral pig". The department is making words mean whatever it wants them to.
6. There is not a feral swine problem in Michigan. According to DNR's own website, less than 50 feral swine in the state were killed in 2011 despite the shoot-on-sight law that allows Michigan residents to legally shoot any feral hog they see.
7. DNR needs to stay off farms. Only the Department of Agriculture should have jurisdiction over farms, not DNR.
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