Pigs Are Highly Social And Really Smart. So, Um, About Eating Them…

Pigs like to play. They’re smart. They have good long-term memories, and they can be socially manipulative with other pigs. They can tell which people are nice to them and which aren’t. They’re also able to distinguish between pigs they know and pigs that are strangers.

Does all of this sound like it might have implications for bacon lovers? If so, that’s no accident.

A paper published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Comparative Psychology surveys the existing peer-reviewed scientific literature to round up what we know about pigs’ inner lives.

Authors Lori Marino, a neuroscientist and founder of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, and Christina M. Colvin, a professor at Emory University, note in their paper that pigs have been found to be mentally and socially similar to dogs and chimpanzees.

“What is known suggests that pigs are cognitively complex and share many traits with animals whom we consider intelligent,” they write in the paper, titled “Thinking Pigs: A Comparative Review of Cognition, Emotion, and Personality in Sus domesticus.”

The paper was funded by Someone, Not Something, a project of Farm Sanctuary, an animal rescue organization. Someone, Not Something is an exploration of the science behind the emotions, intellect and social behavior of farm animals, with the aim of extending greater compassion and legal protection to these creatures.

This group is trying to increase the amount of noninvasive research on farm animals. The paper ends with a call for more studies.

There’s another goal, too.

“Ultimately, in an ideal world people would use this information to stop eating meat,” Marino told The Huffington Post. “But I think that we would be happy to just give people the information and let them make their own decisions.”

We caught up with —> Read More