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This week there will be speeches, unveilings of statues and a commemorative stamp, historical re-enactments and other events to mark Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon’s arrival in Florida on April 2, 1513. The Florida Department of Agriculture is celebrating the introduction by the Spanish of horses, cattle and oranges to Florida. Ponce de Leon can also be credited with first introducing wild pigs to Florida.

Today, wild pigs are considered non-native, despite the fact that they were in Florida several decades before the City of St. Augustine was founded, and over 300 years before Florida became a state.

The non-native designation may not mean much for cracker horses or oranges, but it has been used as justification for horrible acts of cruelty against wild pigs.

In Florida hunters use packs of dogs, and primitive weapons like knives and spears, to chase down and kill wild pigs. Such cruel acts would not be allowed in the pursuit of deer or other ‘native’ animals in Florida.

ARFF is calling on the State of Florida to end the use of dogs to hunt wild pigs, prohibit the use of inhumane weapons, such as spears and swords, and prohibit castration by hunters of young male pigs without anesthesia. Visit ARFF’s website for more information about wild pigs in Florida, and to learn how you can help.

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