Hello Mary.As you know, I am particularly fond of pigs,and having recently had a rant about the Dirty Meat programme and globalised factory farming such as Smithfield etc. I was delighted to listen to midweek yesterday on radio 4 whilst driving around Somerset in the drizzle.One of the guests was a chap called Lyall Watson www.lyallwatson.com who has written a book on pigs. Domestic and wild.It is titled The Whole Hog : Exploring the extraordinary potential of pigs.http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1861977360/qid=1096473038/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_11_1/202-0003015-3176611
He seems to have lived in South Africa for a while and kept pigs and wart hogs as pets. As they became friends he studied them in depth and as a result he now has the greatest respect for them.
He confirmed my belief that they are not " dirty pigs " at all, but like to keep themselves clean. They are also very sociable,ready to learn new things, enjoy games - especially with a ball, love a walk, root around in the woods etc.
He is convinced that they are very intelligent and one thing that convinces him of that is the fact that they look you straight in the eye and that when you stare into them there is a hidden depth there.
He also mentioned that they hate being confined. He visited a Zoo somewhere where they took two wild pigs for breeding. They were put in a small enclosure with a concrete floor. Within two days they had dug the floor up with their tusks and were rooting around in the soil underneath.
Very interesting. But what a shame that all most people know about pigs is that bit of pink meat shrink-wrapped on a supermarket shelf. How it got there nobody seems to care.
He was asked what he thought of pigs being reared for meat, to which he replied that he had no problem with that so long as they are respected for what they are and reared and killed in an humane way.
His website is small but interesting and if you click on the bibliography, he seems to have written some interesting books.
Hopefully I've found myself a new author ?
BTW. " That well known criminal " Alan Tichmarsh has a new series on BBC 1 entitled " British Isles : A Natural History.
In which he will unravel the tale of our beautiful and varied country three billion years in the making. If it continues as it started, it is going to be a cracker.