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The Pig Who Sang to the Moon

 

Tamworth-pig-and-pigletPigs are placed as the fourth most intelligent creature on earth. Research has discovered that pigs also appear to have what psychologists call a theory of mind – an ability to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from one’s own. It is an attractively intuitive idea that is also explicit in the “golden rule” most people learn as children: “treat others as you would like to be treated.”

This type of thinking is usually thought only to exist in man and apes. Pigs it seems are masters of deceit and, according to researchers, pigs will deliberately mislead other pigs so as to gain more food.

But they also show compassion. Because they are not only intelligent but also sensitive and emotional animals, they will suffer with depression when confined in the cramped spaces of factory farms.Factory-Farm-Pigs-Alamy-A7N1BA-335lc012513

In researching The Chain, I spoke with an undercover investigator who worked at a factory farm where sows were kept in confinement crates, barely able to sit or turn around. He told the story of walking into the housing shed one morning to find scores of sows loose. Further investigation revealed that one sow had gotten out of her crate, and rather than seeking freedom, had found a way to unlatch the crates of her fellow sows to let them out.

 In his book The Pig Who Sang to the Moon, Jeffrey Masson gives an account of a remarkable pig who lived on a beach in New Zealand. Piglet as she was called was immaculate, well-mannered, sensitive and friendly to everyone. Famous in her locality, she enjoyed music, in particular the violin, especially on the beach at night when there was a full moon. When I think of all the pigs in factory farms, it is comforting to see the picture of Piglet’s special affinity for music, water, night and moon.

Pig sing

 

 

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