04/19/2011 04:38 pm ET | Updated Jun 19, 2011

New York Residents Permitted To Shoot Invading Feral Hogs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a warning that feral hogs, who were once domesticated but returned to the wild, are breeding in Cortland, Onondaga and Tioga counties in New York.

If left unchecked, the department said hogs could become entrenched in the state and their expansion could cause devastating consequences to natural resources, agriculture and human health and safety. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has therefore given residents permission to shoot the pigs on site. (The DEC lists the pigs' threats here).

Martin Mersereau, the director of Emergency Response Division at PETA, said that allowing hunters to shoot and kill the pigs would be "exceedingly cruel and unnecessary." "There's no guarantee for a clean shot," Mersereau told HuffPost, "so many animals will likely be maimed." A more humane solution, Mersereau says, is to trap the pigs. "If lethal measures are insisted upon, officials should ensure that feral pigs are box trapped, and afforded a quick, painless death."

But that might be too costly for the state. From WVBR:

Although hunting the hogs is effective, the best way to eliminate the population is to place walk-in traps that catch the pigs and allow officials to later cart them away. Unfortunately, this method is also the most expensive. Currently, environmental experts are working to stop the expansion into the Finger Lakes by studying the movement of feral hogs from the South so that their migration path may be cut off.

Grub Street weighed in today with a one word solution to the problem: Charcuterie.

New York isn't the only member of the tri-state area to experience a recent wild animal epidemic turned mass-culling. In February, 7,000 hunters obtained permits to shoot black bears after they began to overpopulate New Jersey.