Overpopulation due to mismanagement during the past twenty years, potentially millions of dollars of agricultural interests damaged by the non-native feral animals, and the threat of potential disease transmission from the feral species to domestic animals. If a Nevada resident were to hear the previous statement, the feral wild horses would come to mind. If a Texan were to hear the precious statement the feral pigs would come to mind. Both of the feral animals represent a hazard to the land, agriculture, and domestic animal health. Though very similar when given the characteristics, two very different styles of management deal with the problem of feral pigs and the wild horses.
When it comes to disease, the feral pigs pose much more of a threat to the agricultural industry than the wild horses. According to studies from Texas A&M University, almost 30% of feral pigs in a study incorporating 350 pigs in South and East Texas tested positive for pseudorabies, which can be transmitted to domesticated livestock. Through the same study they also found that 18% of the feral pigs carried brucellosis! Brucellosis as we know causes abortions in cattle and domesticated animals and efforts to eradicate the disease have been nationwide. In order to defend livestock and keep populations under control, trapping and killing of the feral pigs is popular and somewhat effective as a management solution to the feral pigs.
When it comes to press attention, the wild horses reign supreme over the pigs. Even though many wild horses carry bastard strangles, which is very transmissible and contagious to domesticated horses, there is a huge public cry not to do anything to prevent the overpopulation of wild horses. Wild horse activists say that the horses are just wonderful, and that gathering or interacting with them is terrible. Don’t even mention the word herd reduction! That is out of the question.
So we know there is a problem with feral pigs, and we know there is a problem with wild horses. But due to uneducated, liberal, ignorant activists, nothing can be done to keep disease and overpopulated wild horse herds from transmitting disease. Not much can even be done to help out the wild horses. There is a management solution to both, but ignorance will block any intervention needed to help keep wild horse populations down and healthy. The feral pigs however, will be reduced and managed, and probably have healthier populations than the wild horses.