Pigs were the first animals to be domesticated
The first book on pig farming was written by Chinese Emperor Fo Hi in 3468 BC, but historians theorise that pigs were domesticated about 6,000 years ago. The first pigs came to America in 1539 with the Spanish Explorer Hernando de Soto.
Bacon is one of the world’s oldest meats
Dating back to 1500 B.C., bacon has been a favourite for millennia. Today bacon is big business, with other two billion pounds of bacon being produced annually in the United States. In 2015, according to pork.org, pork accounted for 40 per cent of all meat animal protein consumed worldwide, compared to poultry at 34 per cent and beef at 21 per cent. Pork consumption varies by region, with religious practices heavily influencing demand.
Pigs are warriors
Pigs were reported to be used in ancient warfare tactics. Alexander the Great reportedly used pigs as a counter attack to elephants, since elephants were terrified of pigs' loud squeals. Pigs have also been used for their keen sense of smell to source out buried land mines in more modern wars.
Pigs are the brains of the barnyard
Winston Churchill once said ‘I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up at us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.’ In all of nature they rank third behind apes and dolphins in terms of intelligence. They are the quickest animals to learn a new routine or trick!
Pigs don’t ‘sweat like pigs’
‘You are sweating like a pig!’ While this is a common insult, the science behind this statement is faulty. Pigs do not actually have sweat glands, which is why they tend to roll in the mud in nature to keep cool.
Pigs are omnivores
‘’You eat like a pig!” This is absolutely true. Pigs are gorge feeders, which means when left to feed on their own foraging they will eat until they are stuffed. They are indiscriminate eaters, eating both meat and forage combined.
Pigs can run a 7-minute mile
With scooting ground speeds that top out around 11 miles per hour (mph), they might make a great marathon partner! They may not be the fastest or fittest of nature’s species, but considering their lung size in proportion to their body size is relatively small, this attitude towards cardio is unsurprising.
Pigs keep their room clean
Pigs are naturally a clean and organised barnyard animal, they only roll in mud to cool off. They self-potty train in a barn or in nature. Dunging patterns have been studied by scientist, and as more farms transition to open pen gestation we see that pigs establish a community toilet for the group.
Pigs gestation length, just remember 3
Three months, three weeks, three days is the average gestation length for most sows. This clever sequence of threes totals up to an average 114 days’ pregnancy. The average litter size globally is six to 10, with most sows having 1.5 litters per year. Due to improvements in genetics, nutrition and heard health litters averaging 13 piglets per litter can be achieved.
Pigs have below average eyesight but powerful noses
Pigs need glasses. Their eyesight is among the poorest of the barnyard species, but they have one of the most powerful noses. In France pigs are used to search for truffles due to their keen sense of smell.
Pigs are louder than jet engines
What they lack in eyesight, they make up for in squeal. Pigs can scream up to 130 decibels! With jet engines coming in at 120 decibels compared to diesel engines at 80 decibels, you can imagine how noisy a group of pigs can be if they decide to cause a commotion.
Pigs can save human lives
Porcine heart valves are commonly used in human patients who require replacement valves. There is also hope that one day pigs could provide a step in helping to treat or to cure diabetes because of the similarities between a human and a pig pancreas.
This article is adapted from Animal Focus Magazine by Kenya Veterinary Association (KVA).