When staff complete their regular cleaning of the pig barn at WFAS, they get a lot of assistance with the final stage of laying down fresh straw — from the pigs. In nature, pigs build communal nests and sleep snuggled up to one another, and this instinct still runs strong in domesticated pigs. Patsy the pig is especially keen to help–she opens a bale by pulling off the string with her mouth, then takes big mouthfuls of the straw and scurries around evenly distributing it on the barn floor. If a few pigs are napping, she and others will shake mouthfuls of straw over them until they are covered as if by a blanket.
Pigs are truly remarkable creatures– joyful, curious, loyal, and widely considered by animal researchers to be the most intelligent domestic animals on the planet. In tests designed to measure intelligence and problem-solving skills, pigs consistently outpace both dogs and three-year old children. Yet despite their amazing intelligence, emotional awareness, and all around exuberance, pigs raised for food are one of the most abused animals on the planet. In 2011, nearly 111 million pigs were raised and slaughtered in the United States. Most of these animals are now born and raised intensively in large indoor confinement operations where they suffer from disease, cruelty, filth, injury, and such environmental deprivation that they become insane or depressed. Please read more about the plight of pigs raised for food at our Learn page: Pigs for Meat. And for those who think free-range is the answer, please visit our Humane Farming Myth page. (via Pigs « Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary)