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Study Proves Pigs Are Pretty Darn Smart. That’ll Do, Scientists.

Pigs are smart. That is, really smart. In fact, they might be just as intellectually and socially intelligent as chimpanzees and dogs. According to a new study, conducted by neuroscientists at Emory University, pigs are highly sophisticated, sentient animals with some pretty amazing cognitive capabilities.

Although, the researchers don’t mean to imply that pigs, chimps, and dogs have the same level of intelligence; after all, the idea that animals can be linearly ranked by intelligence is kind of outmoded. Rather, the authors posit that pig intelligence is merely a single representation of the theme of sentience common among all brained fauna.

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Peter Lawson via Daily Mail

The study was funded by animal rescue organization Farm Sanctuary under their project Someone, Not Something, and was published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Comparative Psychology.

The goal? To elevate legal protections and compassion for pigs through the power of science!

Pigs have long been a staple in the “American” diet, and the United States’ carnivorous disposition toward pigs is obvious in the sort of research our scientists do to further understand the species. Most studies have taken an agricultural or laboratory viewpoint, with a focus on production and management, rather than on the pigs’ high intellect. (If you haven’t heard about the kinds of experimentation the U.S. is doing on pigs, then you should really check out our petition about it.)

This new study is changing perspectives on pig research, and on the ungulates themselves. Could bacon, kielbasa, and barbequed ribs really come from an animal that’s intellectually comparable to our closest animal relatives, and to the furry members of our own family?

The study’s researchers say more work needs to be done. What do you think?

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Matthew M. Sullivan holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Grand Valley State University, with emphases in fiction and nonfiction. He lives smack-dab between some railroad tracks and Grand Rapids Michigan's third-busiest road, and spends his time studying film and literary fiction.