McBAIN (WWJ/AP) – Michigan’s effort to wipe out exotic hogs is causing a backlash among farmers and hunting ranch operators that raise them.

Officials believe up to 3,000 feral swine are on the loose in Michigan after escaping from hunting preserves. Critics say fences often can’t hold the swine so they break out and eat farm crops. They’re said to be notorious for spreading diseases, competing with native wildlife for food and causing other destruction.

The state this month began enforcing an order banning possession of the swine, including such breeds such as Russian, Eurasian and razorback which are often bred and used for hunting purposes.

But several producers have responded with lawsuits, contending they have a right to raise the animals.

Mark Baker of Missaukee County said the state Department of Natural Resources is doing the bidding of big farms that want to eliminate competitors.

The DNR says its only motive is protecting agriculture and the environment.

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