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—
An 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.