I chose the pig as the center piece of this blog due to my intense fascination with its place in our culture and history, as well as this “magical animal’s” many contributions to our table.
Like us humans, pigs are omnivores just trying to make their way in the world. They don’t produce milk, give fur/wool, can’t pull carts, plow fields nor transport humans from A to B. And what I think makes them truly unique amongst other pastured animals is their remarkable similarity to us! It’s also what makes many people uneasy about eating them…
Living primal for both humans and pigs are pretty comparable. We both thrive on vegetables, certain grains, tubers and protein. Sure, pigs don’t eat much meat, unless extremely hungry, they’ve well proven that they can at least handle its digestion. This, of course, makes sense to those who know that pigs anatomically similar. Although their skeletal structure is like many other quadrupeds, their internal organs are almost identical in shape, size and location. They have skin tones like ours, only one stomach unlike the other grazers, and we can even swap parts for surgical purposes. Let’s see a chimp do that!
And to dispel the awful stigma that pigs are filthy, sloppy, fat and smelly beasts who eat garbage and roll around in mud (well, the mud can stay), I have to theories as to why we see them often in this light:
– It’s a direct reflection of our own lifestyle; filthy humans’ making all else filthy
– If we don’t knock them down several pegs, we’d be forced to face our own humanity within their faces (tough bite to swallow for many)
It is said that of all non-human animal flesh, pork tastes most like our own. Perhaps that partially explains why we created a gulf between pigs and humans that clearly differentiates their flesh from ours. Thus, we call them slobs, dirty, fat, stupid — and nothing like us. This allows us to eat them without guilt. The repressed and never-asked question, of course, is this: if pigs are really so disgusting, why would we want to nurture our bodies with them in the first place? …One might wonder if perhaps the real reason for the inner conflict is precisely because the flavor of pork teeters too close to our cannibalism taboos…
Fun pig facts:
– Pigs don’t have functional sweat glands; they use water and mud to keep cool
– Pigs prefer water to mud; they’re actually quite the neat-freaks
– Females are sows, males boars and babies are piglets
– Pigs heightened sense of smell makes them excellent foragers
– Pigs love seeking out mushrooms, bulb-vegetables, tubers and acorns
– Pigs are among the top 5 smartest animals on earth
– A pigs squeal (115 decibels) is louder than a jet engine’s (113)
– The largest pig litter recorded was 37 piglets