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Sheep in religion and mythology
Sheep in Art
Help Our Sheep
Animal Rights and Why they Matter
Sentience in Farm Animals
Farm Animal Facts
Why Animals matter:
A Religious and Philosophical perspective
Animals in art
Portrait Gallery: Animals do Not
all Look the Same
Links: Action You Can Take
A Memorial to Sooty
A Memorial to Joey
A Memorial To Patch
is a random selection of interesting or unusual facts about
been domesticated since ancient times approximately
5,000 to 7,000 years ago.
mammals and originated from Eurasian Wild boars.
pig ever recorded was a Poland-China hog, named ‘Big
Bill’. Owned by Burford Butler of Jackson
Tennessee in 1933, this huge pig weighed 2,552 lbs
and had a height of 5 and a length of 9 feet. His
stomach was so long it dragged on the ground.
originally lived in woodland and foraged for seeds, fruits, flowers, grasses, nuts, roots and grubs. Pigs use
their snouts, a very sensitive organ, to dig into the
called hog or swine, is a generic term for all pigs
regardless of gender or breed.
approximately 2 billion pigs world wide.
A male pig
is called a boar, before she has piglets a female pig is
called a gilt after which she is referred to as a sow.
largest litter of pigs on record was 37! However the
average litter is 12 piglets.
Pigs skin's, if he
or she is healthy, should be shiny, free from loose dead
skin, scabs or wrinkles and to a greater or lesser
degree depending upon breed covered with course
are social animals and make friends not only amongst
their own kind but other species as well.
surprise you to know that a pig may be more intelligent than
your dog and ranks forth intelligence wise behind
chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants.
popular belief pigs are clean creatures. Pigs defecate
away from their living areas. Piglets will leave the
nest to relieve themselves when they are only a few
nests out of grass and other foliage before farrowing,
(giving birth) the need to do this is so strong that in
the environment of the modern factory farm pigs become
frustrated when they are unable to do so.
weaned after three months but they continue to live with
two weeks pigs learn their names and will respond when
||Pigs do not
perspire, to keep cool they wallow in mud which also
keeps them clean and free from pests and other
irritations. As the wet mud falls off it cleanses the
susceptible to sun burn. A layer of dried mud helps to
protect them from the sun.
||Pigs have a
such keen sense of smell that they can easily find
good swimmers and if it is available prefer water to mud.
Pigs used to be kept on board ships because
it was believed if that if they were
shipwrecked the pigs would always swim
toward the nearest shore.
very inquisitive creatures, and like human babies they
investigate with their mouths, anything unusual.
||Pigs live on average about fifteen years, have an
acute sense of smell and becasue their eyes are placed
on both sides of their head they have a wide field of
||Pigs have at
times both straight and curly tails, it is said that when
their tails are curly that they are happy.
omnivorous, this means that in the wild they eat both
meat and plants.
domesticated animals pigs have religious significance.
Egypt pigs where associated with Set ,originally the god
of the desert, Storms, Darkness, and Chaos. In
Egypt Sows where symbols of fertility as in the imagery
of the sky goddess Nut sucking her many piglets, the
both Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy pigs are
associated with St Anthony the Great the patron St of
swineherds who was born in Egypt in 251, and who spread the
idea of monasticism. In Hinduism
the god Vishnu took the form of a boar in order to
save the Earth from a demon who had dragged it to the
bottom of the sea. In Judaism the eating of pig is
considered non kosher and is forbidden as the pig is
considered an unclean animal. The eating of pork is also
forbidden in Islam and also by some Christian sects, the
seventh-day-Adventists amongst them. According to
Christian tradition Jesus drove demons out of a
possessed man and into a herd of swine which afterwards
stampeded over a cliff. Depictions of the Buddhist wheel
of life show the pig as one of three animals( pig, snake
and crow) binding mankind to sensual desires. Each
animal is symbolic representing a particular human
failing, Known as the three poisons. which are
considered an hindrance to enlightenment or spiritual
progress. The pig is identified with ignorance based
upon the pigs habit of keeping his head low to the
ground with his large ears falling over his eyes thus
symbolising a blinkered vision giving rise to a
perspective narrowed by our cultural conditioning
whereby we lose sight of our own essential, natural
||Melrose Abbey in Roxburgh Scotland, founded as a
Cistercian monastery in 1136 features an unusual gargoyle,
a pig with bagpipes round his neck on the South wall of
extensively in art from the ancient earliest known
picture of a pig, which is believed to have been painted 40,000
years ago in a cave in Altamira in Spain, to sculptures
of pigs painted
in 21st century bath.
The picture below is one of a hundred decorated pig sculptures exhibited around bath and in neighbouring areas during the summer of 2008 to celebrate Bath's origins and its artists whilst providing both residents and visitors with a unique artistic attraction.
Exhibit of pig sculpture outside Bath Abbey, one
of a hundred sculptures included in the King
Bladud’s Pigs in exhibition held in the city of
Bath during the summer of 2008.
||There is an
interesting legend connecting pigs to the founding of the city of Bath. Bladud, the
mythical King of the Britons and father of King Lear
contracted leprosy whist studying in Athens. He returned
to England, and after realising he was not able to
inherit the throne he left the royal palace and became a
swineherd in an untravelled part of the country. This
area was the Avon valley, here Bladud crossed the
river Avon as he drove his pigs in search of acorns. The
legend has it that the pigs also contracted
leprosy but were cured after rolling in mud which arose
from Bath's springs. Witnessing the healing of his pigs
Bladud bathed in the murky water and he likewise was
cured, after which he returned home and was restored to
his position as heir apparent to his father, eventually
becoming king in 863 BC.
a city at Bath so that others may benefit as he had done
and in gratitude for his miraculous healing, dedicated
its curative properties to the Celtic goddess Sul.
is a page from a medieval book of hours, Très Riches
Heures du Duc de Berry or Très Riches Heures , by the
Limbourg Brothers 1416, it is considered as probably the
most important illuminated manuscript of the 15th
century. The picture, November ,depicts swine being
driven into the forest for the pannage season. Pannage
is a term for releasing domestic pigs into woods
or forests so that they may feed on acorns or beech mast.
This practice is no longer carried out generally but is
still observed in some areas such as the New Forest in
southern England. Notice the swine are small and prick
eared with a long bristly body which was typical of the
medieval pig which resembled more its ancestor the wild
boar than the modern pig.
was a successful Canadian artist, mostly working in oils
or water colours, he often depicted rural scenes such as
the painting above entitled Little While Pigs and
Mother. This delightful painting rendered in oils on
canvas now hangs in the National Gallery of Canada.
||The pig is
one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the
Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. Chinese
astrology associates each animal with a number of
personality traits, people born in the year of the
pig are said to be: honest, patient, over sensitive,
modest, shy, supportive, trustworthy, lovers of nature,
vulnerable, greedy, materialistic, quick-tempered. The
most recent year of the pig was 2007 commencing February 18th.The pig in the
Chinese tradition is a representative of good fortune
and luck. Since ancient
times the year of the pig is considered to be an
auspicious time to be born, those born in the year of
the pig are said to be very lucky and will be happy and
honest. Prospective Chinese parents plan to have their
child born in the year of the pig.
||The pig is
associated with fertility and virility in Chinese
Stamps have been issued featuring pigs, here are two
examples to celebrate the Chinese year of the pig.
is a postage stamp from Viet Nam issued December 15,
stamp above from China was issued January 5th 2007
Important please note:
I am not an
animal expert of any kind just your average person who
loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the
plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a
writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in
mind that the information included in this website has
been researched to the best of my ability and any
misinformation is quite by accident but of course
Copyright, accreditations and
other matters, please read
Horatio Walker -
Little White Pigs and Mother - 1911