Pigs long have been major staple of our diet

Swine are of the family Suidae. Hog-calling usually uses some form of “Sooey-sooey-sooey.”
Pigs have been domesticated for a very long time, indeed. There are records from ancient Persia and China—maybe 9,000 years ago!
Pigs have their own names, too. When they are born, they are just pigs, or piglets if you prefer. By the time they are weaned, they are shoats. A young female is a gilt and she matures into a sow.
Adult males are boards, but castrated males are barrows.
Mostly, little pigs are weaned from their mothers at about 10 weeks or so.
Many non-farm people think of pigs as being sloppy and dirty—wallowing around in the mud and being fed garbage. Don’t believe it at all!
Anyone who raise pigs for a living knows there are two very important principles which must be followed—proper food and very careful sanitation.
Pigs convert food into meat more efficiently, quickly, and economically than any other farm animal. Pigs need lots of protein—milk, alfalfa, and other meals, and so on, as well as good pasturage.
Sanitation is a must. Pigs get quite a few diseases, some of which they share with us humans. Many of these are bacterial, which can be spread by other animals, in the soil, and in food.
And quite a few are spread by parasitic animals, particularly parasitic worms.
A few of these diseases have no known cures, and can be controlled only by sanitation and keeping other animals away.
A slaughtered pig is almost 100 percent useful. All the real good parts are liked by just about everybody—the pork roasts and chops, the hams, and the universal favourite, bacon.
But lots of folk eat the uncommon bits, too—pigs’ feet, pork hocks, ribs, heart, liver, kidneys, and just about everything else.
Intestines are cleaned up to make tripe; and skin is tanned into leather (coats, jackets, footballs, soccer balls!) And that hair is made into brushes.
As someone once said, “We use everything but the squeal.”
Some of the diseases of swine can be transferred to humans. One is erysipilas in which sores develop, as does arthritis. This also can be passed to sheep, rats, cats, turkeys, and other animals.
Brucellosis (undulant fever) is another bad one, with no proven controls. There are quite a few more.
Years ago, trichinosis was a frightening disease acquired by eating contaminated pork. But controls have been so rigid that I have not heard about it for more than 50 years.
Remember when you were always told to cook pork very well? Now they tell you to cook it “a bit pink.”
There are a great many varieties of pigs nowadays. Many of these originated in England and Europe, but in the last 150 years or so, many have been bred in the United States, such as the Poland China, the Hereford (not the cattle), and the Chester White.
Some of the English ones are the Berkshire, the Tamworth, and the Yorkshire (said by many to be the best bacon pig of the whole lot).
One of the problems with pigs is getting rid of the manure. Usually it is just put on the land and plowed under. The soil gets rid of bacteria and it is a very good fertilizer.
The smell, however, is awful.
With the huge operations we have nowadays, the problem is becoming very much larger. For example, with a 3,000-pig operation, you need about 100 acres to get rid of the manure.
There are other methods now, too, but they are complicated and expensive.
Anyway, pigs are a large part of our diet here in North America. They are profitable, fairly congenial, and quite easy to manage.
They likely will be a part of our lives for a very long time.

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