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Bright sparks

Pigs are extremely sensitive, emotional and bright animals, with long memories. This perhaps makes the routine abuse of pigs in factory farms even worse.

Highly co-operative in social groups, pigs exhibit affection by grooming each other. Research has been carried out which shows pigs can be trained to carry out more tasks than dogs. They can be taught to sit, pirouette, shake hands, complete complex obstacle courses, play bugle horns, and, by gripping a joystick with their snouts, are even capable of playing complex video games.

Stanley Curtis, Professor of Animal Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, says: “Pigs are amongst the most intelligent animals on Earth” (40).

Pigs are on a par with sea mammals such as dolphins and sea lions in their understanding of a combination of symbols for actions and objects (eg fetch the ball, drop the frisbee), discriminating among three objects and able to perform the action-object task presented to them (32).

Pigs have also been shown to give emotional responses in anticipation of different events and to have some understanding of time.