Former hog farmer: 'They can become combative'

CEDAR FLAT, Ore. - Vernon Herrick used to have 50 hogs on his farm up the McKenzie River from Springfield.

He doesn't raise hogs anymore, but he remembers how pushy they could be.

After the revelation that hogs ate the body of Terry Vance Garner in Riverton, Ore., last week, many people have asked: How is that possible?

"Once they knock you down and get you down, an animal that weighs 600 to 700 pounds can get some blood flowing and they'll - they'll eat," Herrick said.

Herrick doesn't know how Garner had his hogs confined, but he said how you put your pigs in pens can make the difference.

"Really, it depends on the confinement. If you have a bunch of hogs in a group, they can become combative," he said. "One thing is you keep them in different pens, so that they're not in a huge pen together."

Hogs can be hungry, too. "It depends on how you're feeding them," Herrick said.

If you restrict the feed of a 700 pound animal, he said, they're going to be cranky.

And that can lead to trouble with animals with less-than-friendly personalities.

"So if you get an aggressive one," Herrick said, "that's a good one to make sausage out of."