Are Pigs The Most Misunderstood Creatures in The Animal Kingdom?

Winston Churchill said "I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals". I think he was probably right, but most people think of pigs as dirty, fat, smelly creatures, so why do pigs get such a bad press?

Unlike most large mammals pigs are found in almost all parts of the world in one form or other. Thousands of years ago in Europe pigs became one of the first domesticated animals and when people moved away to colonise other parts of the world they took pigs with them. Humans have a long and varied association with pigs so it is surprising that they are so misunderstood.

It is fairly common to hear the phrase ’sweating like a pig’ to describe a person who is perspiring profusely. However pigs do not sweat in the way that we do because they do not have sweat glands, so they need to roll in mud to cool themselves down and protect themselves from the sun. The mud also helps them to get rid of any fleas or parasites on the pigs skin because the mud cracks off  as it dries, taking the parasites with it. Perhaps the need to roll in mud is why they are thought of as dirty, but pigs are actually very clean animals, they will not soil their living or eating areas unless they are forced to by the circumstances in which they are kept.

The term ‘pig’ is often used to describe a person’s thoughtless or slobbish behaviour, but pigs are not stupid. Professor Stanley Curtis of Penn State University in USA taught pigs to perform a number of tasks including jumping over dumbbells and sitting next to and fetching different objects. The pigs still remembered what they had been taught three years later. Professor Curtis also showed that pigs could learn to play video games with a joystick, he said “Pigs are able to focus with an intensity I have never seen in a chimp.”

So before you insult someone by calling them a pig keep these points in mind. Pigs are naturally lean unless they are over fed and kept in an unstimulating environment without exercise. They enjoy playing football and they like to listen to music. Pigs have complex social lives, they dream, sows sing to their young when they are nursing, they learn by watching each other and they are able to outsmart each other by changing their behaviour if one course of action is not achieving the desired result. They have a good sense of direction and they can find their way home over long distances.

15
Liked it
23 Responses to “Are Pigs The Most Misunderstood Creatures in The Animal Kingdom?”
  1. Jimmy Shilaho Says...

    On April 10, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Quite an interesting post. I couldn’t help laughing.


  2. Guy Hogan Says...

    On April 10, 2010 at 9:39 am

    How interesting. This is all news to me.


  3. LoveDoctor Says...

    On April 10, 2010 at 10:34 am

    This is a very interesting post. I just learned something new. thanks for sharing.


  4. pearl2010 Says...

    On April 10, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Nice article to read. I like pigs because I like their meat, but not always eating though.


  5. Christine Ramsay Says...

    On April 10, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    We don’t often think about what is behind a saying. We just use them because everyone does. This article has been an eye opener for me.

    Christine


  6. deep blue Says...

    On April 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Pigs had been equally voiced out in this article. We learned a lesson from them, Frances.


  7. giftarist Says...

    On April 10, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Very good post, a great lesson learned here.


  8. Val Mills Says...

    On April 10, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    A wonderful article. I remember, as a young teacher, being told off by a staff member when I made some sort of dirty pig commented. he told me in no uncertain terms that pigs were not dirty and I’ve always remembered.


  9. Ruby Hawk Says...

    On April 10, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    I wonder how pigs got their bad reputation. Poor guys they got a bad rap.


  10. Snooky Says...

    On April 10, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    poor pigs victums of being another target for humans to transfer their bad traits to.


  11. Brenda Nelson Says...

    On April 10, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Pigs are as smart as the average dog, you can train them, and yet… dogs (loud barkers) are legal as pets, and pigs are dinner… go figure.


  12. Borneon Says...

    On April 11, 2010 at 12:07 am

    Pigs are really interesting animal to me


  13. Frances Lawrence Says...

    On April 11, 2010 at 6:53 am

    B Nelson, I agree it doesn’t make sense. However I think the trend of keeping pigs as pets is cruel. My aunt had a very friendly pot bellied pig, the pig was cared for and kept beautifully clean and healthy, but in an average home with limited grounds pigs can not have sufficient space to exercise. Also it is cruel for one pig to live alone with no contact with other pigs.


  14. lillyrose Says...

    On April 11, 2010 at 10:35 am

    your article was so true! I like pigs


  15. Authoress Terry E. Lyle Says...

    On April 13, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    What a great lesson learned.


  16. athena goodlight Says...

    On April 13, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Intriguing and educational take on a very delicious animal. Thumbs up!


  17. CA Johnson Says...

    On April 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    This was a very interesting article. I didn’t realize that pigs could be trained to do so many things.


  18. Mr Arrogant Says...

    On April 16, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Lovely article
    .
    .
    I really liked it
    .
    .
    good effort
    .
    .
    well done
    .
    .
    .
    looks like you’re really a good writer
    .
    .
    thanks for sharing this article
    ..
    ..
    Regards,
    From Mr Arrogant
    .
    .
    :)


  19. wonder Says...

    On April 16, 2010 at 11:51 am

    What a cute article this is! You have done justice to a hapless creature, great work.


  20. mishee Says...

    On May 11, 2010 at 12:01 am

    oink! :)


  21. Louise Silver Says...

    On October 8, 2010 at 3:50 am

    What a lovely informative article. I never knew such amazing facts. Who’d have thought the sow would sing to her babies! I already knew that they’re said to have intelligence. Gosh, this makes me feel even guiltier for eating them!


  22. leswall Says...

    On January 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Pigs as pets are great. This article hit on all the points. My piggy is smart, sweet, clean & loving.


  23. les wall Says...

    On January 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Pigs as pets are great. This article hit on all the points. My piggy is smart, sweet, clean & loving.


Post Comment
comments powered by Disqus