Friday 4 April 2014

Untruths told to children: Pigs are *actually* very clean animals


A dirty pig. Does she look miserable?

Actually pigs delight in digging and wallowing in mud and muck, and will bury themselves up to the snout - and they are very smelly creatures. I once mucked-out a pig sty, and was at first almost physically overcome by the stench.

But we hardly see any pigs in most parts of England - presumably they are kept out of sight, or else inhabit East Anglia. So the untruth is unnoticed.

Why the error? It is a small example of the way that kids are (mostly falsely) trained to assume that everything traditional and common sense is wrong and nasty - to say that pigs really are dirty is treated like a kind of racism

In passing, piglets, although cute to look at, from a distance, are the least cuddly animals I have ever held - it was like hugging a lump of wood; and they squeal blue murder as soon as picked-up.



Thursday said...

Pigs like to roll in mud to cool down. They like it alot.

However, they are pickier than most animals about not defecating near where they sleep or eat.

So, the glass is half full, or half empty.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Th - It all depends on what you mean by clean.

It depends on whether 'clean' is compatible with totally-immersed-in-and-covered-by-muck.

What pigs are, I call utterly filthy. I would not call them even semi-clean - maybe a few square inches of snout counts as about one percent clean?

Adam G. said...

I just finished raising two hogs. They were no cleaner or dirtier than most livestock for the most part, though Thursday is right that they are much more careful about defecating off in a corner. Set against that is that they eat like pigs.

Their leavings smell terrible because they eat more protein and eat a wider variety of food than most animals do.

Bruce Charlton said...

I give up...

Don said...

Pigs are dirty, tasty, animals. They are bright and if raised right make less than terrible pets.

Our neighbors knew better but they raised one of their pigs to be a pet. It slept on the back porch, played with the kids, etc. It used to line up with us when we played football then spin in circles when the ball was hiked. The guy came when he was called and generally kept out of trouble, which if you know pigs at all was a minor miracle.

The day came to eat 'Wilbur'. The guy sat at the table with his three daughters and wife and all of them started crying. He brought the roast over and said. 'No one will eat it,' I didn't say anything but I noticed he wasn't eating either. So we got a big freezer full of Wilbur.

Lesson, do not make a pig a pet.

Wm Jas said...

Yes, they're supposedly "the cleanest animal on the farm" -- a cliche which people in my family like to quote ironically when they see a particularly dirty pig (or any dirty animal, really).

Past generations, who were mostly farmers and interacted with pigs regularly, said they were dirty. Modern people, most of whom are not farmers and rarely if ever see pigs, say they are TCAOTF. Who is more likely to know what they are talking about?