1080 can be an effective toxin for feral pig control. However, is requires high doses of 1080 in feral pig control products, and feral pigs exhibit a high degree of variability to 1080, so there was an industry lead initiative to discover and register a new chemical-based product that could be added to the feral pig management tool kit. A suitable new chemical was identified. The chemical was sodium nitrite, and it was chosen because:
1. there was a considerable amount of data on its chemistry and toxicology as well as being approved for use in human food products,
2. sodium nitrite in a bait substrate is relatively safe for humans to use,
3. this active agent acts by an humane mode of action (methaemoglobinemia induction),
4. pigs are one of the most susceptible species to this mode of action as they exhibit uniquely low levels of methaemoglobin reductase, and
5. sodium nitrite is realtively environmental friendly.
Having identified a chemical that ticked many of the categories that would be required to register a safe to use, effective, humane, low environmental impact chemical, the technical challenge the project had to overcome was how to incorporate it into a bait substrate that would be highly attractive to feral pigs, less attractive to primary non-target species, stable, and bioactive once consumed.
The technical challenges turned out to be significant, delayed the final outputs of the project, required significantly more intellectual, time and monetary input, but did not prevent a new, effective and safe feral pig management product application being submitted to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority in the first quarter of the 2017/18 financial year. The new product containing a specialised formulation of sodium nitrite for feral pig management in Australia has been branded and trademarked as HOGGONE® in Australia and for future product sales also in the USA.
This will be the first time in over a decade that the APVMA has been asked to review and approve a new feral pig control product, and the first time ever that Australian R&D in this field has been used to support an application for a wild pig control product application to the US EPA.
Australian red meat producers will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this innovation as a proportion of all HOGGONE® sales in Australia and the USA flows back to Meat and Livestock Australia who will reinvest those dollars into R&D aimed at making red meat production in Australia even more globally competitive.