Nov 06

Only a Pig, You Say?!

In Brief—A look at one of the smartest animals on the planet, the pig, and it’s destiny to be slaughtered for your gustatory enjoyment.

Smarter than a 3-Year-Old Human—

baby-pig-in-armsAn Ontario, Canada, woman with a conscience is being prosecuted for giving water to thirsty pigs on their way to the slaughterhouse. No joke, this compassionate woman who merely gave water to condemned pigs is charged with criminal mischief and is facing a fine of up to $5,000 or jail. What’s criminal here is that a compassionate woman was prosecuted and Ontario’s taxpayer money was wasted.

Facts About Pigs—

Did you know that pigs are smarter than a human 3-year-old? They are more sophisticated than your beloved family dog. They enjoy play and even abstract video games, complex puzzles and mazes. They can vocally communicate with one another or clearly express their wishes. They learn from each other, are empathetic and have been found to have superior long-term memory. They like music, have extraordinary homing ability that allows them to find their way home over great distances and, unlike their reputation, are clean and easily housebroken. Science has repeatedly established their wide-ranging cognitive ability. BUT we eat them!

I suggest you read naturalist Sy Montgomery’s book “The Good Good Pig” about living with her pet pig, Christopher Hogwood. Not only is it a fascinating book, but you may never think of pigs as food again.

Pigs as Food—

A number of months ago, I told you about countries that raise pigs for food. At the risk of boring you with the gory details of raising pigs to be slaughtered—sometimes in the most agonizing way—here are the facts about this grim practice.

It’s no surprise that China, with a population of 1.4 billion, leads the world with about half a million pigs at any given time. The United States, with a population of 320 million souls, comes in second with roughly 65 million pigs. Brazil, with a human population of about 200 million, is in third place with about 37 million pigs and Germany follows with about 28 million pigs versus 80 million people. That’s a lot of people eating pigs.

Speaking of just America, a substantial number of Americans eat pork products. Excluding vegetarians and vegans, the only exceptions are some Jews, many Muslims and some Hindus. Pigs are part of the diets of most Americans. What if they knew about the intelligence of pigs? Might they think twice before dining on pork products? Might they decide that a vegetable diet is healthier and better than killing animals?

By now, you have undoubtedly realized that we are almost totally blind to the monumental suffering we cause. We just don’t want to know some very uncomfortable facts. Might we want to save the planet and its inhabitants by becoming vegetarians or vegans? If millions of Hindus throughout the world can be vegetarians, then we can, too.

Pigs, Vegetarian and Vegan—

“But wait,” you say. “Can I get the protein I need to be healthy?” The simple answer is, “Yes.” If you hate tofu, then whole grains, nuts, beans of all types, dark greens, peas, avocado, broccoli, possibly eggs, yogurt and cheeses will provide you with more than enough protein to keep you healthy. The bonus is that you will be able to shed unwanted extra weight while eating all you want.

I encourage you to find out for yourself how you can help save the planet and its animal inhabitants while eating tasty vegetarian food at the same time. There are several different types of vegetarianism, and one of them will surely fill your needs.

Will you miss meat? Probably so at first, but eventually that omnivorous craving will pass. If you choose to believe otherwise, then at least think about those poor animals, those pigs, that are shown to experience fear as they are herded to their deaths, that are being slaughtered to fill your stomach.

Try compassion toward pigs and those other creatures humans destroy to feed themselves.


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    • Dave Meyers on November 6, 2016 at 17:42

    Oh, my dear idealistic friend!………..You try so hard to make this world a paradise.

    To suggest that we should not slaughter millions of these smart animals is virtuous, but first we need to stop slaughtering each other. Compassion for animals seems to be fairly far down the list when you consider what humans seem to feel is important; Having the latest gadget, having the most ‘friends’ possible, Tweeting about their latest ‘deep’ thoughts, AND….. adding bacon to everything.
    In a leaked memo, a national fast-food chain was considering dropping a menu item that just wasn’t doing well. “Add Bacon”, replied the CEO……it’s now a big seller.

    I can testify that, although I’m not a vegetarian, I did give up red meat over 35 years ago and do not miss it at all. I do eat fish and chicken, however, and I suppose we could examine the horrors of raising chicken for food and depleting the Worlds fish populations.

    We are strange animals, we humans. Our priorities are skewed for sure. And, we will never reach the state of grace that you so often propose…..but I love you for trying!

      • Don Bay on November 7, 2016 at 16:37

      I treasure our friendship as well as agreeing that we humans are busily killing one another instead of recognizing our common humanity. At the same time, I acknowledge being slightly idealistic. However, I’m realistic to a fault.

      I recognize that many people are omnivorous. At the same time, many are vegetarians or vegans, and their numbers are growing. Our two children are both vegetarians, have been for years and both are healthy. When we moved to Sweden, it was nearly impossible to find a vegetarian meal, but now they are everywhere.

      You say you don’t eat red meat, great, but have you ever tried vegetarianism? I have been omnivorous but will attest that vegetarian food is quite tasty. Plus, that nasty “meat” smell doesn’t come off me when I shower.

      Before closing, consider this, Americans wouldn’t eat the family dog, but pigs are smarter than their pet. Chew on that a while…and I’ll keep trying to change minds.

        • Dave Meyers on November 8, 2016 at 17:16

        No, I haven’t tried vegetarianism, But often three or more days go by when I only eat fruits and veggies. I’m (we) are big salmon eaters. That and a fair amount of chicken. I love Asian food (rich in veggies) and try my best to cook it as well as it’s done in a good restaurant……I fall short, but it’s edible.
        I’ve never noticed the “meat smell” that you describe, but asparagus sure can add a foul aroma to the water closet!
        Keep up your efforts……you may sway me after all!

          • Don Bay on November 9, 2016 at 12:01

          You can count on my beating this drum, but only because I believe it. If you are swayed, so much the better.

          You may not know this, but native salmon is going extinct. What you are eating is probably farmed salmon that is good but not as healthful as native salmon.

          And chickens are not as dumb as believed. Actually, they are relatively intelligent. Like cattle and pigs, they are afraid when they are about to be slaughtered. Another terrible thing is that chickens raised on factory farms (and most are) are debeaked and jammed into tiny cages until they are slaughtered. Because they are crowded together, they are doped up on antibiotics thereby making it more likely that you will be immune to antibiotics just when you need them. Adaptation and evolution, you know. Finally, as if all that isn’t enough, chickens are often dropped into boiling water while they are still alive. The reason: it’s easier to remove the feathers. But who cares as long as they taste good.

          By the way, I smelled that “meat smell” when I showered after eating vegetarian for a while. Needless to say, I returned to vegetarianism.

          The moral to that story is that vegetarianism is tasty, nutritious and less damaging to planet Earth.

  1. Take Dave’s final sentence and ditto for me.

      • Don Bay on November 7, 2016 at 16:41

      Thanks for the warm thought, but as I said to Dave, I’ll keep trying. I see myself as a sort of Johnny Appleseed planting seeds. I’ll keep on planting seeds in the hope that something will grow.

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