Implications for tail-biting
- A growing pig will seldon quail
- From chewing on a neighbours tail.
- At first, this unendearing act
- Arises simply from the fact
- That pigs by nature root and chew
- When they have nothing else to do;
- But thus engaged a pig may find
- That neighbours, bitten from behind,
- Secrete a red liqueur whose flavor
- Many a swine appears to savor;
- At first a nip, and next a swallow,
- Then nastier results may follow.
Armed sibling rivalry among suckling piglets
- A piglet’s most precious possession
- Is the teat that he fattens his flesh on.
- He fights for his teat with tenacity
- Against any sibling’s audacity.
- The piglet, to arm for this mission,
- Is born with a warlike dentition
- Of eight tiny tusks, sharp as sabres,
- Which help in impressing the neighbors;
- But to render these weapons less harrowing,
- Most farmers remove them at farrowing.
- We studied pig sisters and brothers
- When some had their teeth, but not others.
- We found that when siblings aren’t many,
- The weapons help little if any,
- But when there are many per litter,
- The teeth help their owners grow fitter.
- But how did selection begin
- To make weapons to use against kin?
- And if he fails to find some mud
- To coat his hide and cool his blood,
- Well–piggy doesn’t seem to mind:
- He makes do with the homemade kind.
- Unhygienic? In a sense,
- But keeping cool takes precedence.
- I think swine
- Are rather fine
- Their necks are thick,
- Their noses flat,
- they grow to be
- Grotesquely fat.
- They wear their dinners
- On their faces,
- And lie about
- In smelly places.
- They squeal a lot,
- And make a fuss,
- And you may think
- They’re just like us;
- But I think swine
- Are fine.
- The hog comes in
- on dirty black feet.
- It trots snuffling
- through larder and kitchen
- for hidden lunches
- and then, moves on.
A Yorkshire Sow
- Loveliest of pigs, of the Yorkshire sow
- Is decked with bristles on her brow.
- And in the pig-pen by her side,
- Her month old farrows, pink and wide.
- Now other sows have nine or ten,
- But this one had thirteen again.
- And should she have thirteen once more,
- My farm would soon have pigs galore.
- But since she won’t produce at all,
- If I just lean against her stall.
- I’ll march her to old Bruno’s pen
- And get her back in pig again.
- Snuffle, snuffle, toil for truffle,
- Snorter dig and trotter scuffle
- Underneath the moss and grasses
- Lies the meal that none surpasses.
The Village Pig-pen
- Under a spreading acorn tree
- the village pig-pen lies;
- The pig, a sleepy brute is he,
- With large and fleshy thighs;
- His tail uncurls and curls again
- With flicking of the flies.
A Bit of a Cad
- The boar was a bit of a cad.
- The sow was so right to be mad.
- But she should not think all pigs are bad.
- Some are verse.
The Sausage Men
- This is the way the world ends
- Not with a whim but a banger.
About the Poet:
David Fraser, Ph. D. (contemporary) is a Canadian poet and professor of Applied Biology and Animal Science at the University of British Columbia, where he is also NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Animal Welfare. He joined UBC in 1997 and is currently cross-appointed between the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics.
With a degree in psychology (Toronto) and a PhD in zoology (Glasgow), Fraser has maintained a fascination with animals throughout his 40+ year research career. [DES-06/14]
- David Fraser,Ph.D. Professor, Animal Welfare Program, the University of British Columbia