British People Think Pigs Have Wings

A new survey finds that many British consumers are unaware of what parts of animals they’re eating when they sit down to a meal.

The most shocking of all the discoveries was that 17% of British adults think that there is such a thing as “pork wings,” meaning that they think pigs have wings. Which by extrapolation would mean that 17% of Britons think that pigs can fly.

The survey was done on behalf of National Butchers’ Week, and while it was only conducted in England, it’s hard to imagine that Americans would fare much better on a similar survey. The survey was conducted of 1,000 adults who all eat meat.

Ed Beddington, the editor of Meat Trades Journal, said, “It’s quite frightening how limited consumer knowledge on meat is.”

And while I never thought that I would ever find myself agreeing with the editor of Meat Trades Journal, I think he and I can wholeheartedly concur on that single point, even if we’re both agreeing for different reasons.

Much of what drives people to eat meat is a cognitive disconnect between the animals slaughtered and the meat they’re eating. 

Carol J. Adams discusses an idea she calls “the absent referent” in her book The Sexual Politics of Meat. Animals become absent referents when they’re slaughtered; they become something that meat makes reference to even though the animals themselves aren’t there.

“Animals are made absent through language that renames dead bodies before consumers participate in eating them. Our culture further mystifies the term ‘meat’ with gastronomic language, so we do not conjure dead, butchered animals, but cuisine. Language thus contributes even further to animals’ absences.” (The Sexual Politics of Meat 20th Anniversary Edition, pg. 66)

We have so commodified animals that we can talk about meat without ever thinking of the fact that meat is a dead animal. We are so disconnected from the living beings and the processes by which we consume them that the idea of an animal on our plate is unsettling even to those who eat meat.

We live in an era where veganism is becoming mainstream and people are more open to the idea of a plant-based diet than ever before, but we’re also living in an era where the mechanisms of animal agriculture have disconnected people from the reality of what their food is, so that they’re not able to make an educated choice about an industry that works very hard to keep its operations secret.

A person who doesn’t know enough about animals to know that pigs don’t have wings can hardly be expected to understand that pigs are one of the smartest animals on the planet, that they have personalities, enjoy companionship and play, and very much understand pain, isolation, confinement, and torture at the hands of humans.

If we really understood animals, how they live, and what they have to go through in order to become food for humans, if we really understood that, how could we continue to eat them?

Related Stories:

Is Bacon a Gateway Meat for Vegetarians?

Hope for the Pigs (VIDEO)

Largest US Pork Producer Ignores Welfare Promises


Photo: Jim Champion


William C
William C2 years ago

Thank you.

W. C
W. C2 years ago


gillian brown b.
.6 years ago

i would not be suprised if pigs had wings actually,with what scientists can do nowadays!!

Jane Trelawny
Jane Trelawny6 years ago

you have to be kidding me,actually since reading about the inhumane way animals are treated before being slaughtered,i rarely eat meat,for that reason,mainly.also i prefer veggies anyday.but to eat an animal which has been slowly and hideously treated is repungant.more of this education is needed. denmark is far worst though as is china and japan.

Irene Mearns
catherine Mearns6 years ago

That would be the English

LMj Sunshine
James merritt jr6 years ago


LMj Sunshine
James merritt jr6 years ago


Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen6 years ago

I was watching an episode of Kitchen Nightmares and even some chefs don't know what part of the animal is called what.


rebecca s.
rebecca s.6 years ago

if the people were under thirty and from the UK I almost believe it. The UK is a place where half our kids don't know where chips come from, what vegetables look like or indeed anything else they eat. Anyone else seen the advert for some new TV show with the 2 young females discussing whether pig-amy(!) goats are the result of a pig and a goat mating!! So pig wings? Yeah, I believe our embarrassingly dim & ignorant youth could think that!

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

Helen, do you have any clue how OLD this discussion is? It's almost a year and a half old, and the member to whom you are referring last commented six months ago. The entire article was written a bit "tongue-in-cheek" in the first place. Even Mac (the author) knows pigs don't fly or have wings. Now as far as what Jackson said, he's correct, sorry. Vegans who keep harping about the amount of soy grown to feed animals and the other skewed statistics have fallen prey to vegan propaganda. This has ALL been previously discussed, so PLEASE don't try to ressurrect this again.