Wild boars permitted in M.D. of Smoky River

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Anyone who wants to raise wild boars in the M.D. of Smoky River will be allowed to do so, provided they follow stringent guidelines.
The controversial subject made its way onto the M.D of Smoky River agenda Feb. 9 with council deciding they would not follow the lead of many municipalities in Alberta and ban the animals.
“Wild boars are declared a pest,” said ag fieldman Shayne Steffen, adding if they are penned properly, they are considered livestock.
“A bunch of municipalities prohibit them,” he said.
“In case they escape.”
Wild boars are known to destroy crops and breed rapidly if an ample food supply is present. They are also very clever and wary when hunted.
Steffen recommended the M.D. ban wild boars but Reeve Robert Brochu disagreed, saying the M.D. is not above Alberta Agriculture, which permits boars.
“I don’t see why it shouldn’t be done if it’s done correctly,” Brochu added, should the M.D. receive an application.
Council also heard wild boars are an easy transmitter of swine flu – a disease devastating to domestic swine – and that any wild boar farms allowed in Alberta must be at least 16 km from existing hog barns. Such a provision would involve the M.D. changing its land-use bylaw.
Falher Councillor Gilles Roy questioned potential costs to council.
“If we do let them in, there will be a cost to inspect [producer’s] fences,” he surmised.
However, Steffen replied he and Alberta Agriculture would complete the inspections which would take about half a day.
“We should not discourage development if it’s done properly,” said Guy Councillor Paula Guindon.
“If done properly, the industry could benefit the region,” added Brochu.
Roy motioned for council to prohibit wild boars. He and Whitemud Councillor Raoul Johnson voted in favour while Brochu, Guindon, Girouxville Councillor Alain Blanchette, and Jean Cote Councillor Andre Trudeau opposed.
The M.D.’s land-use bylaw will be amended to conform with council’s wishes.
It was also noted by council that wild boars can still be hunted if they escape.

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