"Piglet" by Stephen & Claire Farnsworth
Just look at that photo of the piglet, is there anything cuter? When the film "Babe" was released in 1995 there was a clamor around the world. Here was the cutest pig of them all running around scared of being butchered. Children of all ages protested and refused to eat pig. What to do? Moms and dads went into action telling the children some fairy tale about how much pigs enjoy dying and oh by the way, they taste delicious don't they? The child of course gave in to his/her instincts and mom and dad won another war in horror.
Now comes out of academia a study in the person of the University of Copenhagen, the ETH Zurich, and France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture and Food and Environment (INRAE). The study proves the sounds pigs make in their everyday lives are indicative of their emotions. Kind of like what we humans do.
The article was published in Scientific Reports and outlines an exhaustive study of 411 different pigs and the sounds they make. The recordings, more than 7,000 of them, were made all throughout the pigs life, from birth right to slaughter. The results were amazing to say the least!
An AI driven algorithm was created in order to decipher the various squelches and grunts pigs make in their daily lives. Furthermore it was proven that the algorithm was 92% accurate in predicting the state of mind of the pig via the sounds. Not surprisingly the pigs and piglets were found to indeed be expressing their emotions through the various sounds.
It was shown that when the pig was happy, playing or sucking to his/her parents they made short sounds that dropped in frequency. When they were in fear or stressed they produced screams of agony in the form of screams, squeals, and barks that were longer in length.
“With this study, we demonstrate that animal sounds provide great insight into their emotions. We also prove that an algorithm can be used to decode and understand the emotions of pigs, which is an important step towards improved animal welfare for livestock,” said Associate Professor Elodie Briefer, the study’s lead author, in a statement.
Why is this of import to us humans? First because it once and for all dispels the myth of a the happy pig waiting to be turned into bacon. Secondly it absolutely proves that ANIMALS HAVE EMOTIONS, in other words they are not "animals". Activists in the cause knew this long ago, anyone that had spent time with a pig knew the complex emotionality of the animal. This study however brings the credibility of the scientific community to the table.
Will it make any difference? No! Why? Because bacon just tastes too good, better bury the inconvenient truth and have a BLT instead. After all we are human beings, the most violent creature ever created by the synthesis of life.