05 Apr '12, 5pm

Michigan threatens small farms by calling heritage pigs ‘invasive’

Michigan threatens small farms by calling heritage pigs ‘invasive’

Heritage pigs are common on small Michigan farms. (Photo by Danielle Harms.) Things have been pretty tense on Michigan’s small pig farms over the past few days. Farmers who own rare heritage pigs in particular have been waiting anxiously, hoping the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) doesn’t show up to arrest them — or even kill their pigs. As of April 1, the Michigan DNR was slated to start enforcing an order put in place last fall that classified wild boars as an invasive species. What does it have to do with farmers? It turns out the classification — which is based on a set of physical characteristics, such as straight ears, dark snouts, and a tendency toward stripes in their young — also includes many of the heritage animals kept on farms in the state. (Many farmers in the area raise an extra-fatty specialty breed called Mangalitsa , but they tend to cross t...

Full article: http://grist.org/locavore/michigan-threatens-small-farms-...

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