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Native farmer challenges Michigan's exotic hog ban

Lawsuit says state order banning exotic hogs in Michigan violates UP farm's treaty rights

Feral-Hog-Backlash

In this April 18, 2012, photo a Mangalitsa boar searches for food on a farm owned by Mark Baker near McBain, Mich. Michigan's effort to wipe out exotic hogs is causing a backlash among farmers and hunting ranch operators that raise them. Michigan officials believe up to 3,000 feral swine are loose in the state.

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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — An American Indian farmer is suing the state of Michigan over its ban of exotic hogs that it says are escaping from hunting preserves and causing environmental damage.

Brenda Turunen is a member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and has farmed for 23 years near the reservation in Baraga County. She and her husband say they’ve developed a breed of swine called the “Hogan hog” that can withstand harsh Upper Peninsula weather.

It resembles Eurasian boars that are among types targeted by the state.

A federal suit filed this week says the Department of Natural Resources has no authority to regulate tribal farmers under a 19th-century treaty. It seeks an order to stop what it says is DNR harassment of the Turunen operation.

The DNR declined to comment.

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