Animal news: how can there be too many pigs?

From Harper’s Weekly Review:

“I’m fielding calls day in, day out from farmers all over the country who are in a perilous position, where they have just got far, far too many pigs on their farm,” said the chairman of the U.K.’s National Pig Association; a nationwide pig cull looms.

This wouldn’t be because of Brexit, would it? Because I’ve been reading about how Britain’s trade with Europe has been cut off at the pass — “pass” being the English Channel or, as the French call it, la Manche.

Pigs are lovely animals, intelligent and “inscrutable.”

Whenever I think “pig,” two particular piggies come to mind. Let’s start with The Empress, the not-very-secret star of the hilarious British series, “Blandings.”

The doings around the remarkably stolid pig are exquisitely funny, but the funniest thing is the pig herself. Her upturned, squooshed-in snout is so odd-looking, I found myself giggling whenever she was on camera. Right now I’m wondering why a weird snout on a huge pig is funny, when a weird snout on a Valais blacknose sheep is adorable.

Mysteries of life.

The other pig I’m thinking of is a Mangalitsa named, ahem, Monica, who made a monster appearance on an episode of “The Yorkshire Vet.”

First, let’s talk about that type of pig which originated in parts east, such as Hungary, and  is certainly…exotic. It looks more like a fat, dirty sheep than a pig because it is covered in thick fur. Or hair. Or whatever you’d call the growth covering its body. (If you click on the above “Mangalitsa” link, you’ll get quite a different impression of the pig itself; the farmer who is interviewed is a fan; I am not.)

Now let’s talk about Monica. She is the ugliest animal I’ve ever seen. Covered with filthy-looking gray-brown fur, she looks less like a real animal than a CGI from Lord Of The Rings. Maybe a warg. And she has fangs, insofar as a viewer can determine, given that she’s sulking in a dark corner of her pen when we first meet her.

Ugly and truculent. And scary.

So Julian, the actual Yorkshire vet, has arrived at the farm because Monica is as they say “poorly,” and needs a shot of vitamins or whatever. Julian asks the deadpan, funny owner if Monica is “friendly.” Her face says it all.

So, as you’ll see when you watch the video, the plan is to use a very long pole at the end of which is a syringe which will allow Julian to inject the pig without getting too close. (Monica’s owner says to Julian, “Then run for your life.”) I leave it to you to jump out of your seat when Monica receives her injection. (I, for one, did not know pigs roar. And charge while roaring.)



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