Most people won't think twice when considering eating bacon, or even some honey baked ham, yet get mad when people abuse and kill dogs or cats. All of these animals are living creatures that have a will to live, so what's the difference? If segregation is frowned upon with humans, why is it acceptable to do the same to pigs?
Humans are not the only creatures that are affected by societal hierarchies, pigs must deal with them as well. Worse, it is not even their own hierarchy, but one placed upon them by humans. Pigs get thrown into a lower class that treats them as if they are not good for anything except as food for humans. They have become a commodity instead of being seen as a valuable life. Pigs should be viewed and treated the same as dogs and cats.
Pigs are considered to be smarter than the average three-year-old human, as well as cats and dogs. Many animal experts consider them to be more trainable than cats and dogs. In fact, the International Journal of Comparative Psychology published a paper in which they provided evidence to show the comparison of pigs to other domestic animals that are often considered intelligent. In the conclusion of the article they state, "we have identified a number of findings from studies of pig cognition, emotion, and behavior which suggest that pigs possess complex ethological traits similar, but not identical, to dogs and chimpanzees."
This seems to further the argument that pigs should be viewed and treated in the same manner as cats and dogs in Western civilization. It advances the argument that there is more to pigs than just flesh and bone, not that they are the same in cognition as chimpanzees or dogs.
Pigs are social animals with close connections and relationships with other pigs around them. They are also known to enjoy close contact. In a leading pharmaceutical companies veterinary manual, Merck Manual, they state, "In commercial production, the most noticeable group behavior is in newborn piglets, which huddle when cold."
This indicates that pigs are born with the basic instinct to have connections and affection with those around them. Furthermore, pigs kept as pets have become more popular later on in the 20th century which has given us many examples of how great pets they can be.
Pigs are clean animals when it comes to keeping their "toilet" away from their food and living environment. They are even known to be cleaner than many dogs and cats. According to PETA, "If given sufficient space, they will be careful not to soil the areas where they sleep or eat."
This likely proves that the natural instinct for pigs is to be hygienic, however, in many factory farms they are not allotted adequate space. It seems a misconception is given to pigs due to them rolling in mud, however, this is only due to them not being able to sweat and needing to stay cool. It has nothing to do with the overall cleanliness of the pig.
Pigs are discriminated against and have been assigned a place in Western society as a commodity, rather than the living animal with a will to live as they are. There is plenty of research on pigs, yet not as much as other animals such as chimpanzees, dogs or cats. If more people were aware of the similarities between pigs and the animals they love and consider as pets, they may stop looking at them as a commodity and start helping them have a right to life.
According to PETA reports "On any given day in the U.S., there are more than 73 million pigs on factory farms, and 121 million are killed for food each year." That is a large number of pigs that are subjected to factory farming.
Factory farming usually only grants the pig enough room to stand up and lay down. When female pigs give birth in these situations, the babies are immediately taken from them and moved to their own cages. This should likely prove to many that they are not given the chance to have the social interactions that come natural to them, nor are they able to keep up with their cleanliness.
I hope that one day people will give pigs, and all animals, the same chance that they give to dogs and cats. It is worth noting that dogs and cats are also subjected to mistreatment and are considered food in many parts of the world.
To me, a life is a life and it should be valued and respected. As Winston Churchill stated "Dogs look up to man. Cats look down to man. Pigs look us straight in the eye and see an equal."