Pigs are usually given a bad rap for being smelly barnyard animals. In the animal agriculture industry, pigs are subjected to some of the most horrific forms of abuse and confined to cages that are so tiny most never get to turn around for their entire lives. For people who have spent time with pigs and are able to see them as individuals, not commodities, these practices seem exceptionally cruel.
Pigs are some of the most highly intelligent animals in the world. Studies have shown them to be smarter than human children, they can solve puzzles, learn their names and even be trained to do tricks like a dog. Most recently, scientists have discovered that pigs even demonstrate the ability to empathize! Researchers sampled a group of 16 pigs, taking two pigs and teaching them to associate certain music with a treat and certain music with being sent to sit in an empty room. A third pig was brought in and when the trained pig heard the music associated with stress, and became upset, the outside pig would comfort them. When the outside pigs were around the pigs who reacted happily to the music, their behavior changed to show they were happy too!
Knowing what we do about the other amazing abilities that pigs have, we can’t say we’re surprised! Just take a look at some empathetic piggies for yourself!
Had a long day? I understand.
“You did a great job rooting this afternoon, high snout!”
“So what’s new, how are the kids?”
When you smile, I smile.
“I’ve always got your back, friend.”
Lead image source: Stephen/Flickr