Note: these next few pieces are to showcase my skills in persuasive writing. I regularly eat pig-sourced food and own a dog.
Pigs Are Better Than Dogs
Dogs are called man’s best friend for a jolly good reason. They’ve been specifically bred over tens of thousands of years to become domesticated, loyal, and expressive companions to humans.
Pigs, on the other hand, are pretty much equivalent to a bacon sandwich. You’ve heard it all: ‘Your room’s a pigsty’, ‘as fat as a pig’, ‘pig out’, ‘like a pig in the mud’. First images that spring to mind when I say PIG is mud, dirty animals, greasy ham and bacon, the works.
But let me tell you why the pig is a better pet than ‘man’s best friend’.
First, let’s consider the average 3 year old child. At this age, they are able to do the following:
- Understand the concept of their name and age
- Can follow instructions with multiple steps, e.g. drop your toy and then go into bed
- Exhibit empathy
- Work with toys with moving part;, play with puzzles with 3 to 4 pieces
- Screw and unscrew lids
- Navigate mazes
So, what about it? Well, pigs outperform 3 year olds. That’s right – pigs are 3 year old human children, but smarter. My point is, pigs are cognitively and emotionally more intelligent than most animals, specifically dogs. In fact, they’re so smart that they can anticipate future events and emotionally respond accordingly. (Reimert)
Playing is something specific to creatures of cognitive complexity. So, it goes without saying that both pigs and dogs are playful animals.
I’m sure your dog loves the classic tug-of-war, and the good old ‘fetch’. Dogs like chasing and hunting – it’s in their blood. They also love to rough-house with their furry buddies. But, you know, pigs also love to play. They carry around objects, be it a stick or straw. They toss things about, jump around, paw at things. They too enjoy social play, whether it be fighting with one another, gamboling, and pushing one another. (Horback, 186-190). They have fun.
Dogs recognise when their human is happy or sad. They might cuddle up closer to you, or give you some slobbery kisses, or sit quiet as a kitten at your feet.
Pigs exhibit such empathy, but arguably on a much more complex level. Scientists at Wageningen University conducted an experiment to see whether or not pigs can empathise with one another. The tl;dr of the experiment is that out of several groups of pigs, a couple were taken from each group and trained to anticipate either that something good would happen, or that something bad would happen.
The ‘naïve’ pigs, as they were coined, empathised with the trained pigs when they were triggered to react a certain way: when the trained pig reacted with stress, the naïve pig did also. Conversely, when the trained pig reacted with joy, so did the naïve pig. You certainly don’t see that at a dog park – how often do you see a dog cowering away, or one acting disinterested while the other is bounding around like a maniac? Dogs simply cannot comprehend complex empathy. (Reimert)
It’s clear that pigs are amongst the most intelligent and empathetic animals out there. Unfortunately, while these beautiful, loving creatures waste away in cramped cages to be sent to the slaughterhouse en masse, dogs are coveted around the world. The very idea of consuming a canine is frankly shocking.
The unavoidable fact is that dogs are fluffy and cute, with aesthetically pleasing features and lovable qualities. No one falls into a puddle of aww‘s from hearing a pig squeal and oink.
So, why the hell do we put dogs on a pedestal, and pigs on a platter?
You tell me.
Reimert, Inonge et al. “Emotions on the loose: emotional contagion and the role of oxytocin in pigs.” Animal cognition vol. 18,2 (2015): 517-32. doi:10.1007/s10071-014-0820-6
Horback, Kristina. (2014). Nosing Around: Play in Pigs. Animal Behavior and Cognition. 1. 186-190. 10.12966/abc.05.08.2014.