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Pig-headed about pigs

Published March 22. 2014 09:00AM

Today, People, let's talk pigs.

I don't like them. When I hear someone say, "Oh, that pig is so cute," I want to barf and say, "In a pig's eye!"

They just, well, they look creepy to me. That whole nose/snout thing they got going on kind of freaks me out.

Hollywood has lined its piggy bank with gold by trying to turn sows' ears into silk purses. Some famous oinkers are: Porky Pig, a Looney Tunes cartoon character who stutters ..."Thhhhhhat's allllll folks!"; Babe, from the movie "Babe" who trained himself to herd sheep; Wilbur, the lovable wide-eyed character in the children's book, "Charlotte's Web"; Piglet, Winnie the Pooh's best friend. OK. Maybe some of them are a little cute, like Porky and Piglet.

I didn't like Arnold Ziffel from the TV show, "Green Acres." He was a show-off who thought he was smarter than everyone else. And ugly.

The biggest ham of all is the vain Miss Piggy. All the blond wigs, diamonds, furs and glamour cannot prettify her up. Personally, I think Kermit could do a lot better.

According to Professor Donald Broom of the Cambridge University Veterinary School, "Pigs have the cognitive ability to be quite sophisticated. Even more so than dogs and certainly more so than human 3-year-olds."

A little research on the ugly porkers reveals pigs are very intelligent animals. They are the fourth smartest animal on the planet, after humans, primates and whales/dolphins. They can live up to the age of 15.

A mother pig sings to her piglet while nursing. Newborn piglets learn to run to their mothers' voices and recognize their own names.

There are about two billion pigs on earth. China has the most domesticated pigs, the U.S. is second. Denmark has twice as many pigs as people. (Does anybody else think that's weird?)

They make good pets for people with allergies because they have hair, not fur, and they do not shed. Pigs are easily trained to walk on a leash, use a litter box and do tricks.

Pig hearts have been used in human heart transplants.

They spend hours playing, sunbathing and exploring. They enjoy listening to music, playing with soccer balls and getting massages. (Well, who doesn't?)

We shouldn't say, "Dirty as a pig," because pigs are very clean animals. They do not like going to the bathroom where they sleep or eat. They like to bathe in water or mud to keep cool, actually preferring water to mud. Pigs don't "sweat like pigs" because they don't have sweat glands.

Pigs do not "eat like pigs" or "pig out." They prefer to eat slowly and savor their food. They are omnivores which means they eat plants and meat.

So maybe some of the myths of pigs are hogwash.

To me, the only pretty pigs come as pork chops, barbecue baby back ribs, sausage and BACON!

I go hog-wild for my brother-in-law George's dry rub ribs. Now he's added a new item to his grilling masterpieces ... maple glazed bacon. He takes really thick bacon, like almost 1/2 inch thick, coats it in his "special" blend of seasonings and glaze, then grills it. All I can say is, bring on the bacon!

What I'm going to tell you next, really takes the pork-flavored cake.

I read about the swimming pigs of Big Major Cay. They're called Pigs in Paradise. (So who knew pigs could swim?)

Now you not only can swim with the dolphins or sting rays, you can swim with the pigs. (God knows why you would want to, but...) They have become a popular tourist attraction in the Bahamas since they were spotted a few years ago by a passing yacht. If you visit the uninhabited island, also known as, Pig Island, pigs come off Bacon Beach and swim to your boat, looking for food.

There is some speculation as to how they got there: Sailors dropped them off to ensure a ready source of meat; there was a shipwreck with the pigs being the sole survivors; pigs escaped from a pen on a neighboring island and they piggy-paddled their way to freedom. However they got there, they adapted, multiplied and apparently love to swim, which has made them fit and fast.

The pigs learned that tourists bring food with them so they swim out to the boats. The pigs are so smart, they have calculated when the boats generally arrive at the island. They just hang out on Pig Beach until it's time to swim out and greet their guests.

Another reason to hate pigs: It really ticks me off they found a way to live the life I want... to live on a tropical island, swimming all day, for free!

In his book "The Whole Hog," biologist and Johannesburg Zoo director Lyall Watson says that pigs are among the world's ultimate survivorsnot only because of their intelligence, but for their varied diet. Pigs can eat almost anything. They won't even hesitate to cannibalize one another nor are they likely to say "no" to some sweet human flesh.

He also writes, "I know of no other animals [who] are more consistently curious, more willing to explore new experiences, more ready to meet the world with open mouthed enthusiasm. Pigs, I have discovered, are incurable optimists and get a big kick out of just being."

That's funny! I get a big kick out of eating bacon!

No matter what I've learned though, I remain pig-headed ... I don't like pigs.

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