It’s often been said that men are pigs, and it’s true that we both eat a lot of junk food, smell like bacon, and occasionally wander into the forest for mushrooms. Also, bears are happy to eat both groups. So if you consider mankind to be particularly piggish, good news! We’re celebrating National Pig Day! Whether this should be an occasion to salute our curly-tailed, cloven-hoofed friends or a day to eat them remains a stern debate. Let’s examine the matter with some facts you might not have known about piggies.
Pigs are plentiful–yet endangered! While there are upwards of 2 billion porkers alive at any given moment, all domesticated and well-fed and whatnot, many species of their wild & feral cousins face increasingly vulnerable odds from habitat devastation and predators. One exception is these razorbacks pictured here, who have been overrunning Florida ever since Spanish conquistadors set them loose. The pig’s an adaptable animal who does well almost anywhere you plop it, so…basically we’re responsible for their ruining the environment, then our own ruining the environment so badly even they can’t hack it. Whoopsy-daisy!
Pigs are smarter than your dog, unless your dog is Mr. Peabody. And maybe even smarter than you, according to the New York Times and the University of Illinois. After all, you’d starve to death if it weren’t for late-night takeout, but Porky never forgets a meal. Before those of you who can cook get too cocky, know that a pig can unroll a rug, meaning it’s a better interior designer than most bachelors. More than that, they can do all kinds of dog tricks faster than Fido, and a few that elude even your parents, like playing video games. “Pigs like to lie around, they like to drink if given the chance, they’ll smoke and watch TV,” says Dr. Lawrence Schook in that same article. Sounds like pretty fun guys to room with.
Pigs are coprophagous. Then again, maybe you don’t want to spend the entire weekend together. There’s a certain saying about happy pigs that refers not to their wallowing, but their eating habits. These dirty devils will feed on feces and some cultures make use of “pig-toilets,” in which the outhouse deposits directly into the sty for easy dining. Remember that before Babe tries to kiss you. Come to think of it, there’s a saying about that, too.
Ham is delicious. You probably know this, already, but for the vegetarians among you: by damn, ham’s good ham! The prosciutto, the serrano, Jinhua, Black Forest. You’d eat your best friend’s leg if it tasted this good. Heck, they’d eat themselves a little bit of a time.
Brendan McGinley is not very good at video games.