Swine Warfare: Are Feral Pigs the Next Weapon of Mass Destruction?

Move over anthrax, there could be a new biological weapon in town.

Is this the little piggy that could deliver the bacon for the terrorists of tomorrow? (Photo: Fort-Worth Star-Telegram Contributor/Getty Images)
Sal holds a Political Science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.

As if anti-terrorism officials weren’t inundated with enough hourly threats to keep them tossing and turning into the wee hours of the night, a recently published doctoral dissertation [pdf] suggests that the do-badders of tomorrow could deploy a new category of biological weapon in their never-ending quest to wipe out as much of the free world as possible: invasive species.

Author Lawrence Roberg, an associate professor of anatomy and physiology at Laboure College who is working towards a Ph.D. from Atlantic International University, warns that non-native species, like feral pigs and ticks, could be ‘weaponized’ to carry out attacks against the United States, reports Business Wire.

A short list of the living weapons and the living bullets they could be jerry-rigged to carry reads like something out of a Tom Clancy novel. Business Wire reports:

-Feral pigs can be used to carry the Nipah virus and spread disease to humans, cattle and wildlife.

-The heartwater pathogen, a microbe that can cause heart and pulmonary edema, and carried by the tropical bont tick, can kill deer, cattle or other wildlife, and potentially be transmitted to humans.

-Striga, a plant parasite that can destroy corn crops, and subsequently devastate commodity markets and bio-fuel production.

-Barberry plants that are eaten by birds whose droppings spread wheat stem rust, which can cause a decline or destruction of wheat production.

"We must prepare for the use of invasive species as biological weapons,” wrote Roberge. "These types of weapons are inexpensive to produce and hard to detect immediately, so they can cause extensive damage before they can be controlled."

Reading that dire warning makes me hope that someone in a dank basement of an unmarked building in Langley, Virginia just pushed a budget request up the bureaucratic food chain to staff up a new clandestine anti-terror unit: OONB (Oink, Oink, No Boom).

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