Leading article: Pig out

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Boars have a special place in European culture. A long boarish line runs from the colossal Erymanthean beast hunted by Hercules, to the animals that graced the coat of arms of Richard III, to Obelix's favourite repast. So it is good to see, after centuries of absence, that the animals are once again thriving on the Continent.

The trouble is that wild boar are thriving a little too well in Germany. In the Rhineland they are destroying crops and even, occasionally, invading small towns in search of food. Local farmers are calling for the army to be brought in to deal with the creatures. That seems a rather drastic solution. Surely there is an alternative to total war on the boar.

The essential reason for the high numbers is a lack of natural predators. So the answer is to increase the supply of predators. Wolves would be the romantic option, but, alas, impractical. So that leaves us humans. And here there's plenty of scope for improvement. We used to use wild boar bristles on toothbrush heads. Why not bring that practice back? And let's eat more of them. All that free-range meat should not be allowed to go to waste. It is time to embrace our cultural heritage: pass the wild boar sausages.

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