Pigs — Man’s True Best Friend

By any objective standard, pigs are as cute as dogs and cats. Soon, they'll be saving lives. Shouldn't we treat them better?

By any objective standard, pigs are as cute and cuddly as dogs and cats. Soon, they’ll be saving lives. Shouldn’t we treat them better?

Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, announced yesterday that it has created a bioscience division to grow skin and organs for human transplants from pigs.

The Virginia-based company already sells pork byproducts to medical companies developing drugs for ailments such as indigestion, hypothyroidism and deep-vein thrombosis, reports the Virginian-Pilot.

The new unit is part of the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing institute, funded by the Defense Department, which is developing ways to replace skin for wounded soldiers and preserve human organs. The company also is working with the Harvard Medical School and Columbia University to develop immunology therapy.

Bacon’s bottom line: It’s about time that pigs got their due. Pigs are highly social creatures and high on the scale of intelligence and sentience. And how do we treat them? We pack domestic pigs together in inhuman (or whatever the equivalent word is for pigs) conditions in factory farms. And we hunt wild pigs with inpunity — indeed in some places we seek to eradicate them entirely. Can you imagine the outcry if we hunted down wild cats? If we jammed dogs into tiny stalls and force fed them so we could eat them? Where the heck is PETA?

As Winston Churchill famously said, “”I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

Surely we can treat pigs as equals in return!

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7 responses to “Pigs — Man’s True Best Friend

  1. While eating my breakfast of bacon and eggs I was thinking about involvement vs commitment. I realized that the chicken was involved in my breakfast while the pig was committed.

  2. Feral pigs are generally regarded as an invasive species that causes significant harm to other animals, native plants, property and, sometimes, people. Somewhat like most of the General Assembly thinks of legislators from Fairfax County. 😉

    Seriously, I believe it’s better to remove invasive species than to ignore them.

    As far as domestic pigs are concerned, I remember a big hog farm near my grandparents’ lake cabin was full of hogs generally mired in the mud. They seemed pretty happy. At that age, I would have liked the same opportunity. Humane treatment of animals is important, IMO.

  3. horses and dogs are “committed” in other countries as DJ has opined.

    but the thing to remember is that chickens,turkeys, pigs and cattle pollute the hell out of the Chesapeake Bay – we we blame the farmers not us.!

  4. And horses are nowhere near as sentient as pigs. I wonder how many of you remember Walter Brooks, who wrote his children’s stories 20 years ahead of Orwell’s take on the subject. Pigs were the king of the barnyard, and people knew it.

  5. What can I say? Every time my heart beats, it’s a pig’s former heart valve that pumps the blood around MY body. Yes, I’ve heard the joke before about crying when I pass a BBQ joint. But seriously: thank you, Mr. Porker. More to the point: thank you, modern medicine.

  6. I praise your paean to the pig, Mr. Bacon

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