The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-22-2004, 09:00 AM
aka_10003 aka_10003 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Do pigs eat people?

(...and why do I ask?)

In the HBO gritty Western Deadwood, a dead man is dumped into a pig sty and the pigs are happily sucking on the cadaver.

Is that more than Artisitic License?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 03-22-2004, 12:31 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, California
Posts: 10,457
Quote:
Originally Posted by aka_10003
Is that more than Artisitic License?
Not really, no. Pigs are omnivores and will literally eat almost anything. In some areas of the U.S. feral pigs were for a time being tied to declining populations of deer due to their predation on fawns ( who were not adapted to dealing with pigs, which are non-native in most of North America, the javelinas of the southwest excepted ).

A hand-reared, "pet" pig might balk ( for awhile ), but to your average pig, meat is meat.

- Tamerlane
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-22-2004, 01:20 PM
lieu lieu is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Bedrock
Posts: 24,954
He might be balking at the "hand-rearing".
__________________
I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalog: "No good in a bed, but fine against a wall." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-22-2004, 01:36 PM
Spavined Gelding Spavined Gelding is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
In rural areas of this country the comment “I haven’t had so much trouble since the pigs are Grandpa,” is a common expression of really big but somehow amusing bad luck. In the country little kids are reminded to stay out of the hog lot lest the pigs eat them. Occasionally some farmer will have a heart attack in the pig yard and be badly savaged before he can get out or be dragged out. There is a photograph of a dead Confederate soldier on the Gettysburg battlefield with a gapping hole where his abdomen ought to be. It was once passed off as a photo of a soldier killed by artillery fire but recent analysis indicates that the body was feed on by pigs which had been turned out in the woods to fend for themselves.

Pigs are not trustworthy animals. They are always hungry and they will eat anything. They are big and strong and once they get an idea in their head they don’t change their mind. There are two farm animals you don’t turn your back on, a Holstein bull and a mature pig of any gender.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-22-2004, 02:09 PM
plnnr plnnr is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Pigs were routinely turned out in the Spring an allowed to roam at will until the Fall, when they would be rounded up and slaughtered. They could be set loose because, as has been pointed out, they will eat anything and are very capable of protecting themselves. Today, the tusks of hogs are routinely cut out when they're born so that they don't have any additional tools to do you, or each other, harm.

In short, yes, pigs will eat humans. They'll eat anything.
__________________
Aliens can have my penis when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-22-2004, 03:25 PM
Kizarvexius Kizarvexius is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
My father was a JAG prosecutor in Viet Nam. During one particular murder investigation he came upon a half-buried body that had been dug up by pigs, who were feasting on it even as he approached.

It was years before he could bring himself to eat pork products again.

Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-22-2004, 03:34 PM
Unregistered Bull Unregistered Bull is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
They also eat other hogs. They start eating a tail and don't stop (they're still alive BTW). Their needle teeth are clipped and tails docked when young (piglets) to cut down on this. They'll consume dead animals of any type as well. If you put a small child or disabled human in a pen of hogs, then they would be eaten alive.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-22-2004, 04:05 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: 847 mi. from Cecil
Posts: 28,833
It gets worse...
Quote:
CANADIANS horrified by the discovery of an alleged serial killer in their midst have been confronted with even worse news -- they may have eaten animals that ate the victims.

The farmer suspected of killing at least 22 women is feared to have disposed of their bodies by feeding them to his pigs. The pigs were then slaughtered on his farm, 30km east of Vancouver, and the meat given to hundreds of locals.

Police this week confirmed samples of the pig meat probably contained human DNA, raising the prospect that those living near the farm of suspected killer Robert William Pickton "ate" his victims.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-22-2004, 04:56 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 25,798
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spavined Gelding
In rural areas of this country the comment “I haven’t had so much trouble since the pigs are Grandpa,” is a common expression of really big but somehow amusing bad luck. In the country little kids are reminded to stay out of the hog lot lest the pigs eat them.
One of my friends used to say, "We ain't had so much excitement around here since the hog ate baby sister!"
__________________
"We're lost, but we're making good time." - Lawrence Peter Berra.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-22-2004, 05:51 PM
Matchka Matchka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear Itself
Given that certain cannibal societies refer to human as Long Pig I had my own concerns about what exactly was being shipped out in that story.

OP: Hell yeah pigs'll eat people. Didn't you see what they did to that kid in "OLD YELLER"?
__________________
I didn't know the sponge was supposed to be wet.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-22-2004, 06:01 PM
Askance Askance is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 6,753
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spavined Gelding
... “I haven’t had so much trouble since the pigs are Grandpa,” ...
"... since the pig IS Grandpa...", surely?
__________________
Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. -Herman Melville
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-22-2004, 06:06 PM
susan susan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Not to mention Hannibal Lechter--was it in the 3rd book that flesh-eating pigs play an important role?
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-22-2004, 06:35 PM
Kansas Beekeeper Kansas Beekeeper is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Warning. The rest of this is gross:

One of the most disgusting thing I've ever seen was when I started working on a hog farm during summers when I was in high school. Gilts and sows especially are prone to a condition called prolapsed rectum, where their intestines come out inside out. It is more likely to occur if the hog has a cough due to pneumonia or something.

I was a city kid. Totally unprepared for this. I got back from cultivating one day just after I started working there, and the farmer called me down to the hog lot. Laying there in the dust was a live gilt, with several feet bloody intestines on the ground, inside out. When he had found her, other hogs were chewing on her intestines, and pulling them further out. They would have, without question, killed her and eaten her.

The rest of the story is that all I could think to ask was, "so you want me to go up to the house to get a gun?"

"Nope."

We got the hog in the barn, bathed the intestines in some sort of antiseptic, stuffed them back in, took a large curved needle for sewing up burlap bags and some heavy thread, and partially sewed the anus up. Then we gave her a massive dose of antibiotics. Unbelievably, she lived. In fact, several weeks later we had to sort through 200 hogs to find her to take out the stitches.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-22-2004, 07:01 PM
David Simmons David Simmons is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 12,684
Do hogs eat people? Your damned right they do. Sometimes you get a batch a pretty wild ones who are dangerous as hell.

My wife and I were visiting her cousin and I went with him to feet his hogs. He told me to stay out of the yard and he hauled the feed in a wagon and tractor. He never got off the rig but drove past the trough stopping to shovel the feed out from time to time.

I lived around farms all my life up to WWII and had never encountered "wild" hogs before although I knew that hogs could be dangerous and should be watched.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-22-2004, 07:51 PM
kushiel kushiel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
In hindsight, this thread makes me realize that in my rash, 6 year old youth, I should have been more careful around the fence surrounding the hogs.

Then again, I don't remember a lot of violent behavior, and my dad and uncle spent a good amount of time in the pig pen.
__________________
"I been trying to do it for THE LONGEST TIME by running nekkid thru stuff..." - iampunha
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 03-22-2004, 08:17 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
One time a rooster was standing on a post that formed part of the pig pen at my grandfather's farm. In an amazingly quick motion a huge hog leaped up and caught it in its mouth, the rooster was dead and devoured in seconds.

I'd say they'd definately anything and everything that is in front of them.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 03-22-2004, 08:19 PM
Ultraviolet Ultraviolet is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
The feeding of human remains to pigs is talked about in the movie Snatch. It turned my stomach to hear them talk about how a pig could polish off a body, bones and all.

I live in BC, and when I first heard the news that Robert "Willy" Pickton (a pig farmer referred to in an above post), was going to be charged with several murders, that movie was the first thing I thought about.
__________________
"We seem to have travelled from the grotesque to the bizarre"--AYBS
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 03-22-2004, 09:04 PM
David Simmons David Simmons is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 12,684
Quote:
Originally Posted by kushiel
In hindsight, this thread makes me realize that in my rash, 6 year old youth, I should have been more careful around the fence surrounding the hogs.

Then again, I don't remember a lot of violent behavior, and my dad and uncle spent a good amount of time in the pig pen.

Aggressive behavior isn't common. Just the same, when you buy a new batch of hogs to fatten, it is a good idea to use caution for a little while before falling down while carrying a basked to feed in the yard.

If the hogs are from your own sows with a known boar, then you know their background and such precautions aren't really necessary.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 03-22-2004, 09:12 PM
Kinthalis Kinthalis is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
So how dangerous are pigs both domesticated and wild?

I've heard many accounts in medieval texts of people dying from attacks by wild pigs (boars) and you guys obviously point out the danger of even domisticated pigs.

So ho dangerous are they wqhen compared to other animals? It's hard to picture the chubby little creature as capable of serious damage, but obviously it is.

Would you rather tangle witha wild pig or a wolf? A gator strikes me as more dangerous given their huge mouth Could a wild pig run down and kill a healthy, fit human adult?
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 03-22-2004, 09:37 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, California
Posts: 10,457
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinthalis
Would you rather tangle witha wild pig or a wolf?
If we're talking a single animal, wolf. More fragile and a lot smaller.

Quote:
Could a wild pig run down and kill a healthy, fit human adult?
Absolutely. Would it? Not usually, no. They're not carnivores per se and generally are opportunistic predators at best ( fawns were easy pickings because they instinctively freeze when threatened and rely on camouflage ). I've run across wild pigs outdoors before and they have just given me a warning *huff* and headed out in the other direction. But wild boars are large ( up to 700 lbs for a big male Eurasian Boar ), very sturdy, surprisingly fast, not easily intimidated and armed with razor-sharp tusks. You don't want to mess around with them if you don't have a gun ( if you do, I'll also say that they're mighty tasty ).

- Tamerlane
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 03-22-2004, 09:38 PM
Catalyst Catalyst is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Only one Snatch reference?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricktop
You're always goin to have problems lifting a body in 1 piece. Apparently the best thing to do is cut up the corpse into 6 pieces and pile it all togetha. And when you got your 6 pieces you gotta get rid of'em 'cause it's no good leavin' it in the deep freeze for your mum to discover now is it? Then I hear the best thing to do is feed them to pigs, you gotta starve the pigs for a few days then the sight of a chopped up body will look like curry to a piss head. You gotta shave the heads of your victims, pull the teeth out for the sake of the piggie's digestion. You could do this afterwards o'course but you don't wanna go siftin' thru pig shit now do ya. They will go thru bone like butta. You need at least 16 pigs to finish the job in one sitting so be wary of any man who owns a pig farm. They will go thru a body that weighs 200 pounds in about 8 minutes. That means that a single pig can consume 2 pounds of uncooked flesh every minute. Hence the expression 'as greedy as a pig'.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 03-22-2004, 10:37 PM
Valgard Valgard is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 4,309
I know I'm not the only one here who enjoyed "The Men From P.I.G. and R.O.B.O.T." when I was younger. Two scifi novels by Harry Harrison.

P.I.G. is the Porcine Interstellar Guard. Intrepid space ranger with his fierce pet pigs. Think K9 unit only...Porcine. He makes substantially the same point as Tamerlane - forget about dogs, you do NOT want to mess with a half ton of angry, trained attack pork festooned with sharp teeth & tusks.
__________________
"Argue with a wise man and you can't win. Argue with a fool and you can't stop."
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 03-22-2004, 11:46 PM
bookbuster bookbuster is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 195
Quote:
Could a wild pig run down and kill a healthy, fit human adult?
Couldn't we snap their necks? I think in a life or death situation we would tackle them and snap their necks.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 03-23-2004, 01:15 AM
Doomtrain Doomtrain is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Have you ever seen a pig? Neck? An adult pig of any kind is like the freakin' rock monster in Galaxy Quest. "It's a ROCK! It doesn't have any weak spots!" This is the kinda thing we're talking about, only meaner and pointer.
__________________
"Sir, we'd like permission to search your pie."--Captain Stottlemeyer, Monk
Playing City of Heroes? Find the Dopers you know and love here. In one of life's great ironies, we play on Virtue.
GMRyujin is now known as Doomtrain. Now with 30% more doom. Doom! DOOM!
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 03-23-2004, 03:03 AM
Chotii Chotii is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by aka_10003
(...and why do I ask?)

In the HBO gritty Western Deadwood, a dead man is dumped into a pig sty and the pigs are happily sucking on the cadaver.

Is that more than Artisitic License?
When I was a kid, we kept a bunch of pigs and fed them restaurant leftovers from our restaurant, so they were hardly hungry. When the butcher came out with his truck and shot the first one, then cut its throat and let it bleed right there in the pen (morbid me, I stood and watched), the others rushed in to their thrashing, dead-but-just-hasn't-figured-it-out-yet erstwhile companion/littermate with whom they had lived all their lives, and began drinking up the blood.

Oh yeah. Pigs will eat people too. They're opportunistic feeders. Just give 'em an opportunity...
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 03-23-2004, 07:42 AM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Miskatonic University
Posts: 10,018
and remember, we have been breeding the bastards for meat. Meat is muscle. Even with a layer of yummy fat over it, these beasts are strong.
__________________
"... at last, they reached Ganymede, under sail."
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 03-23-2004, 09:19 AM
Bytegeist Bytegeist is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Ambrose Bierce, an American writer of the 19th Century, imparted some of his experience as a Civil War soldier in his essay What I Saw Of Shiloh. I believe this is the one where he describes the hellish nighttime sounds of pigs feasting on the soldiers' corpses, still littering the battlefield after the day's hostilities had paused, since there were far too many men to bury before darkness fell.

Of course, the pigs were opportunistic scavengers in this case, eating people who were already dead. We can't fault them too much, even if they are ghoulish beady-eyed minions of Satan. It's not as if they grabbed rifles and participated in the slaughter themselves. Bierce's keen reporter's eye would have caught that, I would think.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 03-23-2004, 11:02 AM
David Simmons David Simmons is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 12,684
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinthalis
It's hard to picture the chubby little creature as capable of serious damage,
Chubby little creature? You must be a city boy (or girl) who saw the movie Babe.

As I recall, they usually weigh in the 300-400 lb. range when sent to market. Boars, as another poster said, can weigh 700 lb or so. I've read of a couple at the Iowa State Fair championships that pushed 1000.

Hogs have a low center of gravity and knocking you down is a pushover (heh, heh) for them.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 03-23-2004, 11:23 AM
Kinthalis Kinthalis is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Simmons
Chubby little creature? You must be a city boy (or girl) who saw the movie Babe.
Yep, I am but after seeing GMRyujin's link I've totally changed my mind! Jeez their like meaner, slightly smaller elephants!
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 03-23-2004, 03:30 PM
Doomtrain Doomtrain is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
The wild ones have tusks, too. So imagine 300 pounds of pissed off pig coming at you, only the front end is really pointy. Wild boars are so nasty they added protective crossbars to hunting spears to keep the bastards from killing you after you stabbed it. Cite
__________________
"Sir, we'd like permission to search your pie."--Captain Stottlemeyer, Monk
Playing City of Heroes? Find the Dopers you know and love here. In one of life's great ironies, we play on Virtue.
GMRyujin is now known as Doomtrain. Now with 30% more doom. Doom! DOOM!
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 03-23-2004, 04:12 PM
Kinthalis Kinthalis is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by GMRyujin
The wild ones have tusks, too. So imagine 300 pounds of pissed off pig coming at you, ...
::Spits out strawberry and herb tea all over keyboard:: Bwahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 03-23-2004, 05:17 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Paris
Posts: 14,130
Quote:
Originally Posted by bookbuster
Couldn't we snap their necks? I think in a life or death situation we would tackle them and snap their necks.

Snap their neck? These things are fast, charge, are pretty heavy and have tusks. You'd disembowelled before having the slightest chance to grasp their neck (and given the said neck's size, I bet you'd need a lot of body-building before being able to snap it).

Fortunately, boars, like most wild animals, avoid humans, and AFAIK, will charge you only in last resort (from their point of view). They aren't predators, and won't hunt you, they just attack in (perceived) self defense. Now, if they manage to kill you, they'll probably feed on you, but this will only be a side-effect.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 03-23-2004, 05:58 PM
David Simmons David Simmons is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 12,684
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinthalis
Yep, I am but after seeing GMRyujin's link I've totally changed my mind! Jeez their like meaner, slightly smaller elephants!
No need for alarm. Although they are big they don't stalk people. As someone has said, they are omnivorous and opportunistic. If something edible comes their way they will eat it. Most of the cases of people being killed and eaten were those who had a heart attack or something or were accidently knocked down. That's why my wife's cousin kept me out of the yard and stayed away from the crowd himself. This particular herd did a lot of jostling and crowding at the feed bunk, even more that is usual which is a lot to start with, and could easily have knocked me over and then trampled me in their rush to get at the feed.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 03-23-2004, 06:19 PM
trupa trupa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Dopers of the Emerald Isle, please feel free to correct me.

I read somewhere that feeding to pigs was a method of choice for discreet body disposal by both sides in the Ulster troubles.
__________________
==================================
You can't beat a woman who shoots!
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 03-23-2004, 06:57 PM
PigBoy PigBoy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
You'd all better watch your backs, or I just might eat you!

But seriously (sort of)...

If I fall over and a nearby pig thinks I look tasty, will it try to kill or otherwise immobilize me so that its damn lunch won't thrash about in resistance, or would it just tuck in without bothering? I gather that the pig would be perfectly capable of fighting back (and winning), but if I do resist, would it actually fight me, or would it just go look for something less troublesome to feast upon? And do the answers to the above differ depending on whether we're talking about the domesicated or wild versions of these feared creatures?
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 03-23-2004, 07:03 PM
MoodIndigo1 MoodIndigo1 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 1,965
I don't see what is so shocking. Humans eat pigs. Pigs are omnivores, just as we are.
__________________
Fighting ignorance can be a noble pursuit, but fighting stupidity is a waste of time. [J.-L. A.]
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 03-23-2004, 07:16 PM
Kinthalis Kinthalis is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoodIndigo1
I don't see what is so shocking. Humans eat pigs. Pigs are omnivores, just as we are.
Yeah but at least we don't go around slaughtering the sick little.... oh... eh..
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 03-24-2004, 12:14 PM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: NY (Manhattan) NY USA
Posts: 16,284
Without contradicting a word of the testimonials to these critters' willingness to eat people and their ability to do so over your objections, I'll say that they are also highly intelligent creatures, up there in the zone between dog and dolphin, and can be trained in lots of complex and useful ways.

Generally speaking, if they know there's reward-food in it for them, you can elicit reliable behavior from them, and feel pretty safe around them, at least as much so as in the company of a german shepherd or pit bull or doberman pinscher.

They do have a long memory, though, and can bear a grudge over a long stretch.
__________________
Disable Similes in this Post
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:21 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.