August 1, 2013
Can Pigs Be As Smart As Dogs?
From 1965 to 1971 a TV show called Green Acres aired originally on CBS, starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. It was a sitcom about a family who moved onto a country farm and became neighbors to an elderly couple, Fred and Doris Ziffel, who had no children. The couple adopted a pig, which was named Arnold Ziffel, and they treated him as their son.
Arnold was an American Yorkshire breed who, on the show, could write his name, change the TV stations, play the piano, and could paint. He attended school where he would carry his lunch box in his mouth and would sometimes play practical jokes on other students. On one episode he joined the army, and another he delivered papers.
Of course, this was a TV show and Arnold probably really couldn’t do all those things. However, the pig did need to be trained to act on the show. He was trained by Frank Inn, who trained basically all the animal actors during that era, including the animals on Petticoat Junction and Beverly Hillbillies.
Mr. Inn won three Patsy Awards during the 1960s for the training work he had done with Arnold the pig. The show lasted seven years and during that time, Inn trained a different pig for each season, due to the fact that Arnold in the show was a piglet, and in real life that pig actor would grow into an adult. Therefore, it wasn’t just one pig that was smart; pigs in general are intelligent.
So, in essence, pigs can be trained to do the same things as dogs, making them as intelligent as man’s best friend. Just a note, my great grandfather had a pet pig that could use the toilet and flush it when he was done.
As a human, most of us have pets. It could be cats, dogs, birds, fish and other small creatures to give us companionship. But, most people think of pigs as food; bacon, sausage, pork or ham comes to mind.
A group of animal-welfare advocates are starting a campaign called the Someone Project, which is researching the intelligence of animals not normally known as pets. Cows, chickens, pigs, and other farm animals usually thought of as food. Most people look at these creatures differently than their family pet, but they do have the same intelligent factor.
A website for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has a section called “The Hidden Lives of Pigs.” It portrays them as being playful and social, with a vocabulary of more than 20 different oinks, grunts and squeaks. They can learn tricks, recognize their name, and are known to dream.
Dr. Stanley Curtis, a formerly of Penn State University, taught several pigs to sit next to, jump over, or fetch certain items. He placed a ball, a Frisbee, and a dumbbell on the floor and the pigs could differentiate what each item was, even three years later.
Scientist from the University of Illinois have found that if given the opportunity, a pig can learn to adjust the temperature in the barn if it has some type of temperature adjustment.
Also on the website, there are several stories of pet pigs saving the lives humans, scaring off intruders, and one even holding a would be thief by the legs until the authorities arrived.
In conclusion, pigs, although a major source of food, are actually as intelligent as dogs.
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com