While pigs are sometimes depicted as being dirty and gluttonous, the truth is that they are highly intelligent animals.
Where are pigs from?
Pigs are believed to have been domesticated from wild boar as early as 9,000 years ago.
They were originally native to Europe and parts of Asia, but over the centuries have been introduced to many parts of the world. Most pigs live as livestock, but some have become feral, having escaped from farms or been deliberately introduced into the wild for hunting. Some breeds of pig, such as the Asian pot-bellied pig, are kept as pets.
The natural life of pigs
Pigs are naturally omnivorous and will eat both plants and small animals. In the wild they will forage for leaves, grass, roots, fruits and flowers. Because of their foraging abilities, and an excellent sense of smell, pigs are used to hunt truffles.
Unfortunately, the freedom to express their natural behavior is not afforded to most pigs raised today.
Pig farming today
Worldwide, approximately 1.4 billion pigs are slaughtered annually for meat. The majority are raised in East Asia, particularly China, which rears around half of the world’s pigs. This is followed by the EU, North America, Vietnam, and Brazil. The majority of pigs are reared for meat while a smaller number are kept for breeding.
While some pigs are kept free-range and in backyards in many developing countries, at least half of the world’s pig meat is produced in intensive systems.
This shift away from traditional pig farming to large-scale, intensive methods has resulted in significant concerns for the welfare of millions of pigs all over the world.