Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Barry Estabrook

Barry Estabrook's new book is Pig Tales: An Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat.

From his Fresh Air interview with Dave Davies:

ESTABROOK: In the state of Texas alone, pigs do over $50 million damage - wild pigs - $50 million damage per year, just to farms. It can range from, a farmer will plant an entire field with corn, and that night, the pigs will just go down the rows and eat up literally every kernel that he's planted. Pigs can stand on their hind legs and pull the branches of fruit trees - peach trees - down, snap them off to get at the fruit. They can create such havoc in a hayfield that the farmer can't get on the land to cut it and just has to wait until the next year. They're incredibly destructive, and they can do this overnight.

DAVIES: And you spent some time with people who try and hunt, trap and kill them. (Laughter). It's not an easy business, is it?

ESTABROOK: Well, I spent a lot of time in Texas, which has the worst feral-pig problem in the United States. They're absolutely out of control in Texas. They don't know how many, but they think there is at least 2-and-a-half million feral pigs in Texas. And estimates are that they would have to somehow kill 700,000 of those pigs a year just to stay even.

Well, they don't. They kill about 400,000, and they can use any means possible. I mean, they can trap them. They can lure them into pens. They can shoot them. They can and do go up in helicopters. It's an awful pastime, but it's legal to go up in a helicopter and shoot wild pigs with machine guns, automatic rifles. Yet, they're not even close to controlling pigs. They don't know what they're going to do.

DAVIES: And you were saying that they - because the pigs are smart, they've learned to evade, for example, the techniques of hunting dogs and stuff.

ESTABROOK: Well, yeah. You know, the old rules of pig and hunting hound was the hounds would get on the pig's scent, and the pig would run and find a good...[read on]
See Barry Estabrook's top five books on food production.

Visit Estabrook's website.

--Marshal Zeringue