Article

Pigs

Pigs are the smartest domestic animal in the world, with intelligence beyond that of a 3 year-old human child. They rank #4 in animal intelligence, behind only chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants. Like dogs, pigs love to play, and explore their surroundings with their powerful sense of smell. They are affectionate animals who form close bonds with each other and other species, including humans. They can pick up tricks even faster than dogs can.

Contrary to popular belief, pigs are very particular about cleanliness. They keep their toilets far from their living and eating areas. Although they enjoy lying in the sun, they need to cover themselves in mud to protect their sensitive skin. In their natural setting, mother pigs sing to their piglets while they are nursing.

Yet pigs, the second most consumed farmed animal in Singapore, must spend their entire lives in dark warehouses, crammed into fetid pens full of their urine and feces. Although they are social animals, the constant stress prevents them from forming any meaningful relationships. To prevent them from biting each other’s tails and injuring each other - a social disorder brought about by their living conditions - piglets have their tails cut off and teeth snipped off with pliers, and male piglets are castrated, all without anaesthetic. Although pigs are supposed to be killed ‘painlessly’ during slaughter, careless stunning practices mean that many pigs are still conscious when they are dumped into boiling water to remove their hair and soften their skin.

Mother pigs (sows) spend their lives in metal gestation crates barely bigger than their bodies. Unable to move or lie down comfortably, this results in crippling leg disorders. Like chickens, pigs fall sick very often, and would die in a matter of months if not for the vaccinations and antibiotics put in their food. Unfortunately, this allows otherwise harmless viruses to quickly evolve and gain drug resistance, leading to outbreaks of deadly swine flu, such as that of the H1N1 virus.

The natural lifespan of a pig is 15 years, but in factory farm production, pigs are killed after 5-6 months.