Personality-Plus Pigs 

Researchers in the  U.K. claim to have demonstrated that the outlook of pigs is influenced by their mood and personality.

The test pigs had access to two different feeding bowls — one with sweet feed (representing a positive outcome) and one with bitter feed (a negative outcome). The reactions of these pigs were observed when a third "ambiguous" bowl of feed was introduced and then classified as proactive/ optimistic or reactive/pessimistic.

One of the researcher’s opined that:  “Pigs living in a worse environment were more pessimistic, and those in a better environment were much more optimistic”. The details of how these assessment were made seemed vague and did not specify  what constituted a “worse” or “better” environment. 


It is an intriguing concept.  I know pigs are smart - maybe the smartest of all our domestic animals. The idea that pigs have personalities and moods and experience optimism and pessimism is a little bit of a stretch.  But, them I believe most animals are smarter than we give them credit for. 

If research like this continues and becomes part of the animal rights movement it might open up many new avenues for the practice of veterinary medicine.  

I can see it now - large pig farms and perhaps even dairies and feedlots would be required to have veterinary psychiatrists on staff to identify and alleviate  the physiological stresses of domestic animals.  Pig Shrinks?  Cow Shrinks? It boggles the mind. 

Many years ago I explored the possibility of starting a canine psychiatry practice — but, then I realized that most dogs aren’t allowed on the couch. <VBG> 

To read more about this fascinating report, check out: