DAY 331: TEN FAST FACTS ABOUT PIGS…OINK OINK!
Ha! I’ve got some fun posts – and some not so fun posts – about pigs lined up.
BUT FIRST… I want to get in touch with the PIG inside me. My immediate mission – before I head to intensive farms – is to relate to pigs as individuals. This feels curious to say the least.
But why should we care about pigs if we don’t know them?
Ever hung out with a pig? Ever seen a pig grieve or get really, really excited? Ever seen a pig suffering from mild irritation or vague indignation?
No, nor have I.
Which might explain why I’d be so horrified to eat a dog burger but not be worried by a bacon baguette. Emotional understanding is the doorway into the house of compassion where they serve tofu burgers – or something like that.
I’ve just come back from visiting a couple of pet pigs in Fulham where I took them out for a walk in the park with the intention of JUST BEING… and it all went a bit wrong. I’ll post about that next but first I want to write some super fast facts about pigs. You too have a pig nature…
1. PIGS ARE SMART
Pigs are ranked number 4 behind elephants, dolphins, and chimps. According to Professor Donald Broom of the Cambridge University Veterinary School, “[Pigs] have the cognitive ability to be quite sophisticated. Even more so than dogs and certainly [more so than human] 3-year-olds.” Like dogs, pigs can easily be housebroken, taught to fetch and come to heel. They can learn to dance, race and pull carts. They can even be taught to play video games, pushing the joystick with their snouts – something that even chimps struggle to master. In the 18th and 19th century various ‘learned pigs’ dressed in natty waistcoasts, travelled through Europe amazing audiences by kneeling, bowing, spelling names in cards and ‘mind reading’.
2. PIGS ARE SOCIABLE
According to research cited by PETA, pigs snuggle close to one another and prefer to sleep nose to nose. They dream, much as humans do. In their natural surroundings, pigs spend hours playing, sunbathing, and exploring. People who run animal sanctuaries for farmed animals often report that pigs, like humans, enjoy listening to music, playing with soccer balls, and getting massages
3. PIGS LOVE TO EXPLORE
In his book The Whole Hog, biologist and Johannesburg Zoo director Lyall Watson writes, “I know of no other animals [who] are more consistently curious, more willing to explore new experiences, more ready to meet the world with open mouthed enthusiasm. Pigs, I have discovered, are incurable optimists and get a big kick out of just being.” Pigs have a tremendous sense of smell. The large round disk of cartilage at the tip of the snout is connected to muscle that gives it extra flexibility and strength for rooting in the ground. Their snout is their most essential point of interaction with the world around them.
4. PIGS GET OFF
A pig’s orgasm lasts 30 minutes. Yeeeha! Tickle my pork sausage and let’s make some bacon. (As the vicar said to the actress(who was dressed as a pig))
5. PIGS ARE FAST
Did you know a pig can run a 7-minute mile?
6. PIGS ARE MULTI-CULTURAL
Pigs may oink in English but in French they go “groin, groin”, in Polish they go “chrum, chrum”, and in Mandarin Chinese, they go “Hu-lu, hu-lu”. They don’t speak German however.
7. PIGS ARE CLEAN
Pigs prefer cleanliness much more than other animals. They use mud only as a coolant in summers, that too out of necessity. Mud also provides the pigs protection against flies and parasites, apart from being used as a form of sunscreen, which protects their skin from sunburn. Unlike festival goers they keep their toilet area a long way from where they eat and rest and try and stay clean.
8. PIGS SAVE MONEY
Piggy banks get their name from a clay called pygg from which jars were made for saving money. Keeping a couple of domestic pigs only costs about 1USD to feed a day – if you give it really good food.
9. PIGS ARE GREAT ACTORS
In 2007, Disney’s Three Little Pigs was chosen for preservation by the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. Babe was a good actor too. Kevin Bacon is also a good actor.
10. LOTS OF PIGS ARE EATEN
Pork is the world’s most popular meat, 85 million tonnes are consumed annually – a third more than beef or chicken (although more chicken are killed in number). The pig is the last of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. The pig is seen to represent, fortune, honesty, happiness and virility. Around half of the 1 billion pigs eaten a year on planet earth are killed in China.