Have you ever met a homosexual pig? I was introduced to one recently and, I must admit, I had my doubts. It didn’t look any different from the other pigs. It wasn’t dressed in a flamboyant fashion, didn’t seem to demonstrate a greater sensitivity to what was going on around it and I’m sure, if there had been a TV, would have shown as much interest in Sky Sports as the next pig.
But its owners, soon to be suppliers of fine rare-breed pork to our restaurant, were convinced it was gay. Why? Because this male pig wasn’t – how do I put this? – doing its job when it came to the lady pigs. He didn’t seem to show any interest in the procreation department. While they fluttered their eyelashes and pouted, the females in the field couldn’t even muster a wolf whistle from the boar.
Now, the subject of animal homosexuality has interested animal and wildlife experts for some time but it seems there are very conflicting views on it. On one side of this major, world-changing debate are those who are convinced that there’s no reason why a pig shouldn’t be attracted to members of its own sex. After all, it happens with humans. But I’m not so sure.
First of all, just because a creature of one sex doesn’t actually fancy the opposite sex, preferring to hang out with members of its own sex, without actually having sex, does that make that creature gay or simply a golfer?
But there’s a danger in treating animals like people; giving them human qualities. We’ve got a cat at home who, due to years of conditioning, knows that it’ll get fed immediately it sees someone first thing in the morning and again at approximately nine in the evening. When friends come around, that 9pm can slide to midnight and the cat plays up by meowing louder than the background music and rolling on the floor, making throat-cutting gestures. Of course our friends accuse us of being cruel to the cat and depriving it of food. “Look at its little face,” they say, “it’s starving and begging you”.
No it’s not starving. It’s been out depleting the vole population all day and, to be totally honest, doesn’t actually need an expensive sachet of kitty fodder. But it’s been conditioned by us, the superior race, to expect free food at set times. We’ve trained it. Cats are not humans. Neither are dogs and pigs certainly aren’t.
Despite what people might suggest, they don’t train you. They haven’t got the same reasoning abilities that we have. But they do have intuitive skills that have been developed in the wild that enable them to focus on the important things in life: food, warmth, sleep, procreation. Don’t confuse those with intelligence. Otherwise, why have cats not invented a vole killing machine yet so that they can sleep even more hours of the day?
I believe this is one of the reasons that some people hate the idea of naming animals when they know that they’re being reared for food. A name encourages the already susceptible human to consider the animal even more like him or her self.
So if they’re not really like humans, can they be homosexual? Maybe our boy pig just wasn’t too turned on by nooky. So, in the real world of farming, this young – possibly gay – pig ended up as sausages. Which, of course, were pink.