It’s not just Wilber from our much loved childhood tale Charlotte’s Web that is ‘some pig’. Believe it or not, there are a lot more to these farmyard animals than meets the eye. When in their natural surroundings, and not in the factory farms, pigs are playful and intelligent animals that enjoy basking in the sun, making nests and cooling off with a mud bath.
If the idea that animals aren’t ours to eat and use how we please isn’t enough to make you ditch the bacon, then perhaps the following fascinating facts will be the incentive you need.
Here are the top ten reasons to leave pigs off the menu and replace them with cruelty free alternatives instead…
1. Pigs are extraordinarily intelligent. In fact, they are smarter than the dogs we share our homes with and even 3 year old children. They demonstrate incredible cognitive abilities and are some of the smartest critters in the animal kingdom.
2. Pigs recognize their names and come when called. Well, that last part really depends on whether they like you or not. The truth is pigs are similar to dogs in many ways, they’ll come when called, they’ll play ball, they’ll sit for a treat and they love nothing more than a belly rub!
3. Pigs are extremely social animals. They are constantly communicating with each other using one of their 20 or more different vocalizations. All those oinks, grunts and squeals aren’t just for fun, they can mean anything from “I’m hungry” to “keep your hands off of my woman.”
4. Pigs suffer from depression. They are highly sensitive animals capable of complex emotional thought, and like us they can suffer with psychological disorders such as depression. It is common for pigs on factory farms to become seriously depressed because of their situation. They spend their entire lives in cramped spaces where they cannot turn around, can barely sit down and never experience sunlight or fresh air.
5. Pigs love to sleep nose to nose. They hate sleeping alone and prefer to snuggle up close. They also dream just like humans do and one can only imagine the terrors that would fill those visions for the unlucky majority that spend their whole lives in confinement and misery.
6. Pigs play Playstation. Yes, you heard me right, pigs can play video games. Professor Stanley Curtis of Penn State University discovered that pigs excel at joystick controlled video games. As reported in Wired, Professor Curtis said “they are capable of abstract representation” and that “there is much more going on in terms of thinking and observing by these pigs than we would ever had guessed.”
7. Pigs and their byproducts are unhealthy. There is no getting around it, it’s a fact. All that ham, bacon and sausage you’ve been scoffing is not doing you any favors, not now (it goes straight to your hips as fat) and not in the future (it increases your chances of deadly diseases).
8. Piglets are mutilated without pain relief. Rather than experiencing the love and warmth of their mothers upon entering the world, soon after birth they are forced to endure excruciating procedures without any pain relief. They have their tails cut, their teeth snapped off and their testicles cut out. They are then made to live in crowded enclosures before being killed at just 4-6 months old.
9. Pigs help manage and maintain ecosystems and biodiversity. By rooting around disturbing the soil, pigs create new areas for plant colonization. They also spread fruit plants by dispersing the pips. Given, this only applies to wild pigs, but shouldn’t all pigs be entitled to live in their natural habitat where they can contribute their unique snuffling gifts to the world?
10. Pigs are heroes and they save lives. They might not look like Clark Kent, but pigs keep making the headlines for performing superhero rescues time and time again. For example, Priscilla saved a young boy from drowning and Spammy saved her best friend from a burning barn!
Pigs share many similarities with humans from their cognitive states and emotions to their ability to experience pain, fear, pleasure and joy. You can make a difference to the lives of pigs. Pledge to go veg!
Photo Credit: USDAgov