Each year on March 1st, sanctuaries and their supporters celebrate National Pig Day. This special day is an important reminder to challenge the misconceptions baked into our culture. Today, we explore the misunderstood nature of pigs, while celebrating their intelligent, emotive, and sentient lives.
Beanie and DJ often together
Scientific research indicates that pigs are among the smartest land animals. What does pig intelligence look like? Pigs possess cognitive abilities similar to dogs and young children, demonstrating self-awareness in mirrors, object and person discrimination, time perception, and memory/spatial learning.
Not only are pigs intelligent, they are curious, playful, and social creatures. Pigs form deep, life-long bonds with others, often transcending their own species. If you’re lucky enough to befriend a pig, they can pick you out of a crowd using sight, sound, smell, touch, and social cues.
Beanie and Dolphin when they were babies
Who runs the world? Girls! At home, pigs form matriarchal hierarchies. These dominant females are large and in charge, getting the best food and superior sleeping spots. In this socially complex pig society, individuals use over 20 unique vocalizations to communicate with one another.
Pigs are homesteaders, as well as explorers. Pigs create warm nests from straw or hay for themselves and loved ones. A comfy bedtime routine is crucial after thoroughly enjoying the day with play. Pigs are inventive in their playtime; engaging in mock fights and chasing with other pigs, or carrying and shaking objects like balls and sticks.
A common misconception in pigs is that they are filthy. Like you and me, pigs prefer to keep their eating and sleeping areas separate from their toilet. You may have also heard the phrase coined, “don’t eat like a pig”. Pigs root around for food with their snouts, foraging for a variety of goodies growing in their environment. Their diet mostly consists of greens, vegetables, and fruits. In reality, everyone should eat like a pig!
Pepper and Shirley snuggling
At JP Farm Animal Sanctuary, we champion pigs as bright individuals. The six pigs in our residence are ambassadors of their species, paying homage to pigs around the world who have never known a safe place. Beanie-Tofu and Dolphin were the first wiggley-tailed friends to call JP home. These girls were saved from going to a feedlot after being raised and trained in a college agriculture program. Their first parents (the students) highlight their distinct personalities as piglets: “Dolphin was always super energetic and friendly with a big personality” while Beanie’s advocate, and one of our original caregivers, shares, “I picked Beanie because she was the calmest one. All the other piglets would swarm you..”.
We challenge you today, and every day, to question the world around you. Negative stereotypes perpetuate cruel practices and everyday detachment. From personal research to meeting a pig firsthand, it is up to us to take a closer look at these lively farm animals. Come visit us this summer, and share a transformative experience of lulling a pig to sleep with a good belly rub!
Want to give back and become an animal advocate for National Pig Day? Meet some JP residents that would love to call you their sponsor. By symbolically adopting a pig, you are contributing to their care and right to safe spaces. Thank you for supporting our rescued pigs, through adoption or taking the time to truly understand their magnificence!
With love for pigs,
Ashley the caregiver
Would you like to be a part of the sanctuary community? Sign up for our newsletter, write to us, share our sanctuary with others, volunteer or make a donation.
Share the goodness, for goodness sake …. 😉
JP Farm Animal Sanctuary is a nonprofit, tax-exempt. 501(c)(3) corporation (EIN 83-1674833)
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