Pork is the most widely consumed meat in the world, followed by poultry and beef. Despite the cultural and religious influences in parts of Africa that limit pig production and consumption, pig farming is growing across West, East, Central, and Southern Africa.
An emerging industry in Tanzania, the pig sector provides income and animal-source food for 190,000 households and sustains 1,436 enterprise units. There are approximately two million pigs distributed throughout the country, 82% of which are owned by smallholders.
Although pigs are the sources of income and food sources to some families, everyone needs to know that pigs are sentient. Pigs can feel pain and fear, and isolation causes them stress. They can learn from each other, show empathy, use mirrors to locate food, and enjoy being given brain-teasers.
Since humans are considered sentient as pigs do, then pigs should be taken as gentle creatures with surprising intelligence. Studies have found they’re smarter than dogs and even 3-year-old children! In the wild, pigs form small groups that typically include a few sows and their piglets.
With that in mind, their welfare should be taken into consideration and very well observed. Their rights should be observed as well without leaving behind the freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury, and disease; freedom to express normal and natural behavior.
It is important to raise awareness and make sure that the community understands the pigs’ rights and stop the exploitation of these perceptive animals.