An examination of ethical attitudes towards wild pig (Sus scrofa) toxicants in the United States.
This research aims to understand ethical attitudes of the U.S. public towards the use of a toxicant to control wild pigs (Sus scrofa), a destructive invasive species whose population growth is proving difficult to control through conventional management methods. Using a nationwide self-administered survey with 2,186 completed and returned questionnaires, we found that among six different lethal control methods, toxicant usage was the only method that a majority of respondents (51%) found to be unethical, with no significant differences between rural and urban respondents or between respondents from counties with wild pigs and counties where the species is absent. The primary concerns of respondents were collateral harm to other animals (33%) and possible pain and suffering of wild pigs (13%). This research suggests that the introduction of a wild pig toxicant in the U.S. could face significant opposition, particularly if the public's concerns highlighted in this study are not well understood and addressed in product development and outreach.