Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said his agency could alter the warning label on feral hog poison to downplay its danger to other animals — or people — who consumed tainted meat, the Texas Tribune reported Monday.
Miller pitched the label-change to Franklin County rancher Bruce Hunnicutt, who recorded his March 3 conversation with Miller and provided it to the Tribune.
Hunnicutt reportedly arranged the meeting with Miller through Rep. Gary VanDeaver in order to allay some concerns about the use of warfarin — sold under the brand name "Kaput" — to kill pesky feral hogs. (Warfarin has also been used as a blood-thinner for the treatment of a type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation).
From the Trib:
"In the March 3 meeting set up by VanDeaver’s office, which was recorded with Miller’s permission, the commissioner responded to some of Hunnicutt’s safety concerns by saying that his agency could change the poison’s federally approved label to eliminate an important warning — as well as a requirement to bury the carcasses of poisoned hogs, which Miller said simply wasn’t 'doable.'
In the recording, which Hunnicutt provided to The Texas Tribune, Hunnicutt says: 'That product label right there says ‘all animals’ ... every one of them has to be recovered and put 18 inches under the ground. How you going to do that? ... How you going to find all of them, Mr. Miller?'
'I guess we should take that off the label, it’s not doable,” Miller says'. We’ll take it off.'
But that's not all:
"Hunnicutt then referred to the label's warnings about the dangers of the poison to other wildlife and domesticated animals.
'Animals that feed on those carcasses are going to die. It can kill them,' he told Miller. 'Whether you say it or not, the label says it will.'
Miller responded: 'We can adjust that too.'
The meeting lasted about 30 minutes, growing increasingly tense, before Miller finally stood up and walked out."
Miller's spokesman, Mark Loeffler, told the Trib that Miller had "transposed the term 'label' and 'rule' in attempting to answer Mr. Hunnicutt's very emotional line of questioning."
We're not exactly sure what Loeffler meant, which is pretty much par for the course when it comes to people from Miller's office trying to explain the Commissioner's oft-baffling actions, like calling Hilary Clinton a "cunt" on Twitter; falsely claiming that a trio of hunters were attacked by illegal immigrants; getting a "Jesus shot;" or suggesting ways to "make peace with the Muslim world."
Because the company that proposed using the poison in Texas withdrew its proposal before it could be approved, Loeffler said, the whole issue was moot. We understand that Loeffler, like his brother-in-arms Sean Spicer, has the rather unenviable job of taxpayer-funded turd-polisher, we hope that Loeffler at least privately acknowledges the larger implications here. We're fairly certain that one of the main functions of the office of Agriculture Commissioner is to safeguard the populace from consuming contaminated meat. After all, it's not like everyone can afford to get cured via Jesus shots.