A hog is a hog but a feral hog is widely held to be a pain in the ass. Over half the estimated 2 million to 6 million feral hogs in the United States reside in Texas and they do about $400 milllion worth of damage on an annual basis, according to The Smithsonian.
All of this means that feral hogs are not smiled upon in the Lone Star State. Houston is no exception to what the hogs have done.
Usually the hogs are just killed -- with a bullet, a knife or a good thwack from a very tough pickup truck, whatever works. However, in Houston they're taking a different approach.
Where some would look at a massive feral hog and see a large nasty thing that needs to be destroyed, the Harris County Commissioners have taken a longer view, according to KTRK. The 8,000 to 10,000 hogs believed to be roaming the parks will be killed, of course, but the commissioners aren't going to let the hogs simply be tossed aside.
Instead, the hogs are going to be used to feed the hungry in Houston. The commissioners signed off on the purchase of four mobile pens to capture the hogs. The animals will then be taken to J and J Processing in Brookshire where they'll be inspected, slaughtered and packaged. Then the meat will be delivered to the Houston Food Bank. Yup. That's not a punchline. It's really going to happen.
Since the hogs will be processed just like any other edible animal, the meat should be held to the standards that ensure it doesn't have worms or weird diseases. Some may be inclined to get all critical about giving wild hogs to the hungry, but it's actually pretty tasty meet, assuming you like gamey vittles. What's great is that the hogs --- these guys get to be pretty massive, so we're talking about a lot of meat --- don't completely go to waste and the Houston Food Bank gets tons of fresh pork.
We've eaten feral hog before and it's not bad tasting as wild game goes. This doesn't sound like a bad deal. However, County Commissioner Steve Radack called this move a gift from God, according to KTRK. His serious take on the matter is appreciated, though we're pretty sure the hogs would not view this whole setup in such a holy light.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.