Vermin incineration facility opens in Toyama

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The first incinerators in the prefecture dedicated to pests are seen in Tateyama, Toyama Prefecture, on Aug. 17.

Animals such as wild boar and deer are increasingly causing agricultural damage, prompting many local governments to call upon the services of licensed hunters. However, an often-overlooked issue is that hunters are often left to dispose of the carcasses themselves.

To help address this issue in Toyama Prefecture, local authorities have established a free-to-use carcass-incineration facility, the first of its type in the prefecture.

The new service is also expected to prevent the spread of classical swine fever by wild boars.

On the morning of Aug. 17, two hunters brought in three wild boar carcasses, which were initially placed inside a storage freezer and later incinerated. “It’s much easier to dispose of carcasses now, as we just have to drop them off by car,” one of the hunters said.

In Toyama City, hunters can receive a reward of approximately ¥20,000 per wild boar, but carcasses that can’t be turned into game meat must be dug out of the ground and buried.

Courtesy of Shinichiro Shimakura
Shinichiro Shimakura, president of a local hunting association, holds up a gun for hunting.

Shinichiro Shimakura, president of a local hunting association, describes the hardships involved: “We had to dig a hole more than 1 meter deep to prevent other animals from digging back.” However, about half of the approximately 30 members are in their 50s or older, with some in their 70s and 80s still active. The association captures about 100 wild boars and deer a year, and Shimakura said, “Considering the hard work of the members, we thought it would be a good idea to have an incineration facility.

According to the prefectural government, agricultural damage caused by pests in fiscal 2020 amounted to approximately ¥65 million, and 8,845 animals were captured in an effort to reduce the damage as much as possible.

However, until now there has been no facility in the prefecture capable of incinerating pests, so local governments had been calling for the opening of a center.

The center began accepting carcasses in June and has been in full operation since July. The center has two incinerators and can incinerate up to 500 kilograms per day (the equivalent of about five wild boars).

According to the Toyama regional association which manages the center, 372 wild boars, deer, and other harmful birds and animals had been brought in by the end of August, of which 313 had already been incinerated.

In addition, when wild boars are captured in areas where swine fever infection has been confirmed, the area where they are buried must be disinfected, and the association’s director, Hiroshi Umezawa, said, “If we incinerate them, it will help prevent the spread of swine fever. We hope that hunters will make active use of this center.”