Consider the pig

Of all the species we humans have domesticated, the pig reminds us most keenly of our prior, uncivilised state. It’s not just that the pig will revert to its undomesticated form within a generation of release from husbandry, the hair and savagery of the boar resurging from just beneath its soft, pink surface. It’s not even that the pig is so omnivorous, performing quite happily the function of a sewer and disposing of human waste of all forms through its own digestive system. The fact that we share an internal organisation, our viscera mapping so neatly onto those of the porcus, a fact not lost on those who would blur the distinction between short- and long-pig, is certainly an element in this uncanny relationship. What disturbs more than anything, though, is that the pig has been on the journey with us all along, helping us to clear the ground beneath our feet and to dig the earth for our crops. The pig has witnessed and collaborated in our behaviour as long as the dog and has offered far less in the way of affection to endear itself to us. The dog knows where the bodies are buried because it helped us dig the holes. The pig did away with the need for the holes.

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