I’ve always been an animal lover, but it wasn’t until I started looking into this thing called veganism a few years ago that I came to appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of animals other than the cats and dogs I grew up with.
When you think of a pig, what’s the first thing you think of? I’m going to guess that you think of words like dirty or fat…or maybe even delicious. Heck, some people even use the word ‘pig’ as a derogatory term to other humans. In reality, pigs are highly intelligent, social animals. Pigs were one of the first animals to be domesticated, about 9,000 years ago. They usually weigh anywhere from 300 to 700 pounds (with domesticated pigs often bred to be intentionally heavier).
Pigs are very intelligent animals, being considered cognitively complex and sharing many traits with animals that are considered to have high intelligence (like dogs). They’re even widely accepted as being smarter than 3 year old human children, and are ranked in the top 5 most intelligent animals in the WORLD! A number of studies have suggested that pigs are capable of perceiving time, remembering objects, and making use of information they’ve learned to navigate their environment. They are also playful, which is another sign of intelligence.
Pigs are very social, with wild pigs often travelling in close-knit groups, aided by their excellent sense of direction. They have their own way of communicating, with a variety of squeaks and grunts, including their own warning call of danger approaching. Mama pigs even sing to their babies while they nurse! Pigs also love belly rubs (which I’ve been lucky enough to experience myself at The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary), and they dream and prefer to sleep huddled up closely together.
Despite your parents saying that your room looks like a pigsty, pigs are also very clean (I know…shocking!), and they keep their ‘potty area’ far away from where they eat and sleep. Even newly born piglets will leave their comfy-cozy nest to go to the bathroom within just hours of being born. Yet another misleading common phrase is to sweat like a pig, when in fact pigs can’t sweat at all as they don’t have sweat glands. Instead, they adorably roll around in the sand and mud, and swim in the water, to keep cool.
Go support your local animal sanctuary, and experience the feeling of rubbing a rescued pigs belly for yourself!
“Dogs look up to man. Cats look down to man. Pigs look us straight in the eye and see an equal.” ~ Winston Churchill