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East Texan shares conversation with Agriculture Commissioner on hog poison

Kaput Feral Hog Bait (Source: KLTV) Kaput Feral Hog Bait (Source: KLTV)
Hogs (Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife) Hogs (Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife)
Bruce Hunnicutt (Source: KLTV) Bruce Hunnicutt (Source: KLTV)

We're learning new details on a recorded conversation about hog poison between an East Texan and State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.

The March 2 meeting centered around the "Kaput" Feral Hog Bait which was pulled last month in Texas by the company who makes it after they cited legal concerns.

Related: East Texas landowners wonder what's next after hog poison hold

We spoke with the Bruce Hunnicutt, the man in that meeting who says he was frustrated with the agriculture commissioner's responses after questions of safety and possible human death were raised.

Hunnicutt a landowner and former agriculture teacher from Mount Vernon says he wanted to talk about a label to a hog poison that he has many safety concerns with.

“I asked him, did you read that label. We send all this meat home on my place since 1993 and I can't be responsible for that," says Hunnicutt.

He stated concerns that poisoned hogs can wander from property to property and that the Warfarin based poison will be accidentally consumed by the families of those that hunt on his land and eat the hogs.

Excerpts from the recording read as follows:

Hunnicutt: "When I asked you about that on the phone you told me said, 'oh, it won't hurt them to eat that meat.' You still standing behind that?"

Miller: "I wouldn't eat it."

Hunnicutt also brought up animals that would be harmed if a poisoned hog is eaten and not buried...a precaution the commissioner said just isn't  “doable.”

Miller: "I guess we should take that off the label because it's not doable."

Hunnicutt: "It's not."

They are all arguments that didn't convince Hunnicutt.

Hunnicutt: "When you say this is a hundred percent safe, it's not going..."

Miller: "I never said it was a 100% safe."

Hunnicutt: Okay, well it's not going to mess with wildlife, it's not going to have anything...any adverse affects to the wildlife?"

Miller: "The only species that it might affect is black bear."

Hunnicutt: "And they're on the endangered species list."

Hunnicutt continues to press Miller more than once on the issue of outside contamination to other animals.

Hunnicutt: "You said predators could feed on carcasses with no affect, I heard you say that. Where did you find this data? That's what I want to know?"

Miller: "It's in the research."

Hunnicutt: "And who did the research?"

Miller: "Scimetrics."

Hunnicutt: "Scimetrics, who is Scimetrics?"

Miller: "The manufacturer of Warfarin."

Hunnicutt: "They're the manufacturer of the product right?"

Miller agrees.

Hunnicutt "Did you have anybody else other than people who's gonna get rich off this thing decide...did you have anybody else do any research from this?"

Miller: "I'm not the agency that approves the research. I don't have a damn thing to do with it."

In the recordings, the commissioner says the label can be changed and defers the warnings on the label to warnings set up by the EPA.

Miller: "I asked, 'why are these on there?' And the legal team says, 'this is boilerplate, it's on every pesticide label.'"

It's a boilerplate for a poison that was called for to be once again studied in a Texas House bill, that's now in a senate agriculture committee.

We asked Hunnicutt how frustrated he was while hearing Miller’s comments.

"I thought TDA was supposed to be protecting the public and after I found out what this stuff was...I didn't see how that's what they were doing," says Hunnicutt.

We reached out to the Texas Department of Agriculture who told us Hunnicutt was upset when meeting with Miller and the entire content of the discussion is not reflected in the 30-minute recording.

Others besides Hunnicutt, who were in the meeting, tell us that is not true and that the hog poison was not discussed until the recording began. The TDA continued by saying the issue is “moot” since there is no hog bat in Texas.

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