2.12.2007

Piggy PR

The Chinese New Year is Thursday, and it’s the Year of the Pig. Though I love bacon, I’ve never been a big fan of the live porkers. They’re smart, sure, but they ain’t much to look at and spend their days rolling around in the mud.

But according to a bizarro press release that landed in my inbox this morning, swine expert Bruce Lawhorn from the veterinary school at Texas A&M (Texas is the biggest ‘show pig’ state in the country) has apparently taken on the weighty task of piggy PR. “There are a lot of misconceptions about pigs, and it’s one animal people don’t really seem to understand,” Lawhorn says.

The press release continues by listing all kinds of facts to make us love pigs. My favorites:

Intelligence. Pigs are highly intelligent animals and are ranked No.4 in the smart department, behind chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants. “They are considered the smartest of the ‘barnyard’ animals and can be easily trained,” Lawhorn says.

Cleanliness. “People think pigs are filthy, but that’s not really true,” he adds. “Pigs can’t sweat because they have few sweat glands, so when they roll around in the mud, they are trying to stay cool. But in most months, they are clean animals.”

Tails. Not all pigs have curly tails – some have straight tails.

Hearts. Pig valves have been used in human heart operations for years and there are more than 40 drugs made from pigs, among them insulin.

And then, toward the end, to really drive the piggy-cuteness point home, Lawhorn notes:

“Pigs have four toes on each hoof but only walk on two of those toes, often appearing as if they are tip-toeing. Also, pigs can easily get sunburned and have sensitive skin.”

(mmm crispy bacon. oink oink)

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