Americans typically associate pigs with one of two images: a fat, mud-covered animal frolicking in the muck, or a big plate of bacon. Maybe a pork taco. But throughout history and literature, pigs have had huge roles in not just what we eat, but also what we know about learning and the science of the brain. In fact, a recent study proves there is a lot more to the average swine than we may have previously known.
Dr. Candace Croney
If you need to know something about the intelligence of pigs, Dr. Candace Croney has you covered. The Director of the Center for Animal Welfare Science at Purdue University, and a professor in Animal Behavior, she's conducted some of the most thorough studies on swine. Her most recent experiment could completely change our eating habits.
Great Respect for Swine
It all started when Dr. Croney partnered with Sarah T. Boysen — a chimpanzee expert out of Ohio State University — to better understand the intelligence of pigs. They echoed a classic quote from Winston Churchill: "Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” But how much truth was there to this?
Of course, pigs aren't the only animals getting this sort of attention. Dolphins, octopuses, and monkeys have also been the subjects of intellectual studies, earning plenty of comparisons to humans in matters of thinking and the brain. But, as experts have pointed out, not nearly enough research has been dedicated to the average farm animal.
"We still underestimate the smarts of pigs and farm animals in general,” she told CNN. "As this avenue of research, farm animal cognition, is taking off steam, we will likely see more research on more sophisticated learning and cognitive skills of farm animals over the next years."