Pig problems persist in the East Bay suburbs, where the porkers are destroying property and risk contaminating the drinking water.

Oh sure, we all had a good laugh at the 30-50 feral hogs meme of August 2019, a funny footnote to the online discourse following the El Paso Walmart shooting that had just taken place. But the pig predicament hit home a few months later when a Texas woman was killed by a pick of the wild hogs. The problem is so bad in Texas that two counties are now offering $5 a pig bounties to hunters in hopes of thinning the pigs’ numbers.

And the New York Times reports the feral pig population is exploding in California, particularly in the East Bay. The pigs have recently done an enormous amount of crop damage and property damage, and are so aggressive that in Lafayette, the city has hired an official pig hunter.

“I guess there are a lot of people who think, ‘That guy is a psychopath, he likes killing pigs,’” that pig hunter Chris Davies told the Times. “I don’t enjoy killing them. But they are terrible animals.”

Just today, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat is out with an editorial saying that it’s about time we start slaughtering these feral pigs. Obviously wine country has a stake in this, because feral pigs tear up the vineyards. “The swine also carry diseases,” the paper says. “A single pig can host dozens of viruses, bacteria and parasites. They can pass those onto domestic farm animals and some to humans.”

“And there’s an environmental toll,” the paper adds. “Feral pigs tear up native ground cover and destroy the homes of native animal species such as ground-nesting birds. Their rooting along rivers and streams can cause erosion and declining water quality.”

Within the last couple of weeks, Napa state senator Bill Dodd introduced a bill to make it easier to hunt feral pigs. As it is now, landowners have to apply for a permit to hunt the pigs on their property, and hunters are required to purchase a tag for each individual pig they kill. Dodd’s bill would create a $15, all-you-can-kill, year-round pig hunting license.

“Swelling numbers of wild pigs have become a scourge on California wildlands, endangering sensitive habitats, farms and other animals,” Dodd said in a release. “They also present a major public health risk and have been linked to outbreaks of food-borne illness. My bill will increase opportunities to hunt them and do so more economically so that we may bring our pig population under control.”

In the grand scheme of things, the pig population may be exploding at an opportune moment. The agriculture sector says that a bacon shortage could be looming in light of other, unrelated new state regulations. So we can think of a solution to this problem... a very, very delicious solution.

Related: Man Of The Cloth Helps Save Mission District From Rampaging Piglet [SFist]

Image: @USGS via Twitter