Review: A&E’s American Hoggers

We can thank explorers for discovering America—and we also have them to thank for introducing new species to our country as well. Cortes and de Soto brought us the wild boar, which is now considered to be an invasive species. A&E now brings us American Hoggers, an invasive species of redneck tv.

I watched the show to try and understand what some people in Texas are doing to combat the wild boar problem. It’s hard to watch this show if you care about animal welfare. The show stars Jerry Campbell, who calls himself the Hog Boss. He’s a former Texas Ranger; but I’m still not sure how he could have been in law enforcement when his drawl/mumble is nearly incomprehensible (thankfully, they use subtitles). His current profession is helping ranchers handle their wild boar problems; judging from the first episode, I’m pretty sure this means mostly killing the animals.

The picture he paints of these creatures is negative, most likely to justify his killing of them. He calls them “the scourge of America.” When he gets a call from a local rancher asking for help, he’s happy to oblige as the boar are “…literally eating up all of his profit.” To me, profit doesn’t justify killing a living creature on purpose. Weren’t these animals around long before the rancher even bought the property? Jerry’s son and daughter are also there to help, as is a family friend. Always by Jerry’s side are his hounds, to whom he relies upon to help track down the boar. His favorite and most prized dog is Rooster, an older dog who lost an eye to a boar. Since Jerry doesn’t seem to take issue with killing animals, it makes perfect sense that he has no problem bringing this dog out to hunt the boar—even though he is clearly compromised by having only one eye. At one point, while they are on a hunt for boar, Rooster goes missing and no one can find him. After searching for hours until dark and still having no luck finding the dog, Jerry and his family reluctantly head home. It’s not until the following evening that they are able to find Rooster, who is thankfully unharmed.

I had several major problems with this show, starting with the premise. I don’t want to watch someone go out and shoot wild boar, I just don’t. Are there really folks out there who want to watch people kill animals? Forget the circumstances—I don’t want to watch animals being killed on television. For someone who says he loves his dogs, Jerry puts them in harms way each time he goes to work—and continues to work at least one that has been maimed. Sadly, I don’t think Jerry has much compassion for anyone but those ranchers who are paying his bills.

I understand the need to control invasive species; I live in southeastern PA, where there are more white tailed deer per capita than people. There have been ongoing battles here about curbing the deer population, as they are devastating to plants, vegetables, and cars. They have tried everything from birth control to killing them using various methods (bow and arrow, bolt guns, allowing hunters more access to private land). It seems to me that if the issue is so serious that your township hires a company to control an animal species, there’s clearly a problem. So I understand that there are invasive animal species here in the U.S. and that there really has to be an effort made to try to handle their population; I just don’t think brutally killing them has to be the answer. If there was discussion about alternative methods to killing these hogs on the show, I would have liked to have heard it. Unfortunately, the state of Texas even allows the shooting of these hogs from helicopters now, so this practice is likely to continue.

It bothers me that this kind of show gets network approval. The first time I watched Billy the Exterminator, I was pleasantly surprised to watch him trap and release many of the animals he caught; he is in the “pest removal” business, so he’s not really an exterminator. Billy’s show is a good example of someone who is trying to help us live with animals, not just kill them.  Sadly, American Hoggers is just another example of perpetuating stereotypes and violence on television.

 

 

About Chris Lucas


Chris has been in the bookselling and publishing industries for nearly 20 years. A family trip to Farm Sanctuary in 2008 helped her change her perspective on animals and food, opening her up to a vegan lifestyle. In December 2009, Chris and her husband Jim began Bucks County Vegan Supper Club out of their home in Pennsylvania. In the winter of 2011, along with Jim, Lydia, and Mauro, Chris became a co-founder of fromatovegan.com as a way to help inspire and motivate other people interested in adopting a plant-based lifestyle.

Comments
7 Responses to “Review: A&E’s American Hoggers”
  1. Minnie says:

    Morning All. Who ever watches this show God lovely Creachers God the almighty.

  2. Minnie says:

    Who hurts & kill his Pets will suffer a bad shandy on this earth!

  3. Minnie says:

    Those who kill his Creachers will never ever have ever lasting life!

  4. jeff says:

    why would any vegan watch this show to begin with? I don’t care too much for Martha Stewart so guess what? I just don’t watch her shows. It really is that simple. I wonder if instead of the show being filmed in Texas Cattle Country….it was filmed where vegans grew their fields of vegetables and pretty flowers and mung beans…..if the feral hogs started destroying your source of food…..would you still feel the same way? The feral pigs need to be killed and or eaten….if the act of catching them to achieve that result is disturbing just change the channel. By the way….Minnie…what does God consider “legion”?

    • Chris Lucas says:

      Jeff, I like to think that I’m open-minded and I don’t want to make a judgment about something before I have a chance to view it. I would love to watch a program where they showed creative ideas about solving problems–not using old tactics which clearly aren’t making a big difference with their feral pig problem. The fact that I’m vegan has nothing to do with what I watch; I can still watch Top Chef and be interested in the challenges. I’m also not interested in perpetuating stereotypes, which seems to be the impetus for many tv shows out there. I don’t advocate censorship, and have high expectations since there are a lot of great, informative shows on television these days.

    • Branden says:

      I honestly could not agree more.

  5. Branden says:

    What are those boars good for anyway? There’s an invasive species of fish living in the Great Lakes, and your always allowed to kill them because they taste terrible and have no natural predator. These boars destroy property and releasing them does no good, because they are dangerous to people as well, and, lets face it, there’s not much wild left in Texas. Besides, all the meat gets donated. And Jerry is the way he is because at the peak of his health he overworked himself doing this boar job.

    I’m sure that if one of these ran up to you, you wouldn’t exactly try catching it and telling it everything will be alright.

  6. Bobbi says:

    Take off Amercan Hogger? It is not a show for those who care deeply for Hoggs. The Devil put in them thoses who do these bad things! The true God will take away all.

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