Why don’t we love pigs?

We are a nation of animal lovers. Dogs are a mans best friend. A clip of a fox on a trampoline gets 500,000 FB likes, so where did it go so wrong for pigs?

Pigs can often outsmart dogs and are on about the same intellectual level as our closest living relatives, chimpanzees, according to a new paper. The research project, described in a paper published in the International Journal of Comparative Psychology, https://escholarship.org/uc/item/8sx4s79c aims to put a face on animals that are traditionally just viewed as sources of meat.

“We have shown that pigs share a number of cognitive capacities with other highly intelligent species such as dogs, chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins, and even humans,” neuroscientist Lori Marino of Emory University and The Nonhuman Rights Project said in a press release. “There is good scientific evidence to suggest we need to rethink our overall relationship to them.”

They found that pigs:

  1. Have excellent long-term memories
  2. Are excellent with mazes and other tests requiring location of objects
  3. Can comprehend a simple symbolic language and can learn complex combinations of symbols for actions and objects
  4. Love to play and engage in mock fighting with each other, similar to play in dogs and other mammals
  5. live in complex social communities where they keep track of individuals and learn from one another
  6. Cooperate with one another
  7. Can manipulate a joystick to move an on-screen cursor, a capacity they share with chimpanzees
  8. Can use a mirror to find hidden food
  9. Exhibit a form of empathy when witnessing the same emotion in another individual

No animal deserves to be treated inhumanely but considering the way pigs are treated with respect to their mental capacity, it seems inconceivable that we allow this to happen. Pigs, specifically breeding sows take my number one spot for worse off animal in factory farming systems (there are close contenders). What they endure would be considered mental and physical torture were it applied to humans. I would challenge any person with even a shred of empathy to learn how pigs are treated in intensive systems and see this any other way. You are welcome to learn more via: https://www.ciwf.org.uk/farm-animals/pigs/pig-welfare or simply make the change to buy ethically raised pork. See the Compassion (CIWF) buying guide https://www.ciwf.org.uk/your-food/meat-poultry/pork-and-bacon

The key message is to buy pork with extreme caution. A lot of pork is intensively farmed, 60%+ in the UK and higher in the EU. Read the labels, there are a lot of good pork producers, so look for organic, free range, outdoor bred or reared. Buy UK pork – UK laws are tighter and better regulated than the EU.

I will also publish posts with ideas to replace pork products as I know a bacon sandwich is hard to give up!

P.S. Remember pork means – Pork and all pork products (bacon, sausages, ham, salami etc.)

Oink Oink!! The Ethical Omnivore

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