SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced legislation this week that would help control California’s growing wild pig population, reducing damage caused by the invasive species to the environment, private property and agriculture.
“Unfortunately, swelling numbers of wild pigs have become a scourge on California wildlands, endangering sensitive habitats, farms and other animals,” Sen. Dodd said. “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.”
California’s wild pig population has soared since various non-native boar and pig breeds were introduced centuries ago. They now can be found in 56 of the 58 counties. Numerous environmental and public health problems are associated with pigs and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife allows year-round pig hunting. Sen. Dodd’s proposal, Senate Bill 856, would lift remaining hunting restrictions allowing for better population control and habitat management.
Sen. Dodd’s bill has support from wildlife officials and farmers, among other groups.
“Feral pigs are an invasive species and the cause of significant damage in our state to the environment, private property, agriculture and other wildlife,” said Eric Sklar, member of the California Fish and Game Commission. “We need to do everything we can to stop them and I applaud Sen. Dodd’s effort to address this problem.”
“The feral pig population in Sonoma County has gotten to an alarming number,” said Jennifer Beretta, president of Sonoma County Farm Bureau. “These unmanageable herds are tearing up working lands, competing with less aggressive wildlife for food, and rutting the landscape to the point of degraded water quality. We would never advocate for eradicating an animal population, but the ability to manage the population through science-based management practices is advantageous for farming and open space.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.