For Immediate Release: March 29, 2013
As Florida marks five centuries of European influence, the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) is making the case that it’s time to welcome wild pigs as a Florida animal.
Although Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon may not have had pigs with him when his ships first landed in Florida in April 1513, it’s believed that he brought pigs to Florida on his return trip eight years later. Descendents of these pigs (as well as pigs from Hernando de Soto’s 1539 expedition) roam, root and reproduce across Florida today. Florida was likely the first state in the continental United States to have pigs.
“This year there will be events and exhibits celebrating the introduction by the Spanish of horses, cattle and oranges to Florida,” said ARFF Communications Director Don Anthony. “We want to take this opportunity to remind people that pigs have also been in Florida for (almost) 500 years.”
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) considers wild pigs, and every plant or animal that “did not historically occur in Florida,” to be non-native. This designation may not mean much for cracker horses or oranges, but it has been used as justification for horrible acts of cruelty against wild pigs.
“In Florida hunters use packs of dogs, and primitive weapons like knives and spears, to chase down and kill wild pigs,” Anthony said. “Such cruel acts would not be allowed in the pursuit of deer or other ‘native’ animals in Florida.”
ARFF is calling on the FWC to end the use of dogs to hunt wild pigs, prohibit the use of inhumane weapons, such as spears and swords, and prohibit castration by hunters of young male pigs without anesthesia.
Visit ARFF’s website– www.arff.org/wild-pigs –for more information about wild pigs in Florida.
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