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swine, name for any of the cloven-hoofed mammals of the family Suidae, native to the Old World. A swine has a rather long, mobile snout, a heavy, relatively short-legged body, a thick, bristly hide, and a small tail. The name swine is applied mainly to domestic animals, which are also known as hogs. Sometimes these are called pigs, a term which in the United States is more correctly reserved for the young animals. Boar is a term for a male domestic swine suitable for breeding, but the term wild boar is used for the common wild swine, Sus scrofa, of Eurasia and N Africa. There are no true swine native to the New World, although a similar, related animal, the peccary, is found in the deserts and rain forests of parts of N and S America. The so-called wild hogs found in parts of the United States are descendants of the European wild boar, introduced for sport hunting, or hybrid offspring of escaped domestic hogs. Widely regarded as one of the most destructive invasive species, these feral swine are a significant agricultural pest in many areas of their range and also are harmful to a range of wild bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species.
The wild boar may reach a height of 3 ft (90 cm) and a length of 5 ft (150 cm). It has 9-in. (30-cm) tusks and a fierce disposition. Now rare in Europe, it is still common in parts of Asia. The Eurasian wild boar is believed to have been domesticated in Anatolia c.7000 B.C. or earlier. Modern domesticated hogs appear to be descended chiefly from this wild boar, with European strains supplanting Near Eastern ones after domesticated swine were introduced into Europe, and with some much later admixture of the smaller Asian domesticated swine that originated from a different subspecies in China about 8,000–9,000 years ago. Hogs were introduced into the Americas by Columbus on his second voyage in 1493; in 1609 hogs were shipped to the Jamestown colony from England.
Swine are valuable for their flesh, prepared as ham, bacon, and pork, and for their fat (lard); they also provide many other products, e.g., leather for gloves, footballs, and other articles, and bristles for brushes. Hogs are commonly grouped as meat-type or lard-type, with the former dominating the U.S. farms. Hogs are raised in nearly all parts of the United States, but the corn belt of the Midwest is the chief hog-raising area, with Iowa by far the leading hog-producing state.
A great majority of U.S. hog production has moved from open pens to enclosed, mechanized facilities. The trend is toward huge, factorylike hog farms where swine are born and bred inside structures that feed, water, and dispose of wastes while controlling ambient temperature. Though hogs will eat almost any food, modern swine feed is nutritionally balanced to produce rapid and healthy growth. Based on a mix of corn and soybeans, the feed is supplemented by minerals, vitamins, and antibiotics. The giant modern farms produce enormous amounts of hog waste; this has become of increasing concern as a potential source of water pollution.
Diseases of Swine
See J. Blakely, The Science of Animal Husbandry (3d ed. 1982); O. Schell, Modern Meat (1984).
In many European countries a traditional Easter feast features pork (see also Lamb). Some explain this preference for pork at Easter time with reference to the pig's role as a symbol of abundance. Others, however, believe that this custom began in medieval times as a jab at the Jews for their refusal to accept Jesus as the Messiah (for more on Messiah, see Jesus). Traditional Jewish dietary laws prohibit Jews from eating pork. Christians, however, understood themselves to have been released from the obligation to follow these laws through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So they celebrated Easter by eating pork. Many Europeans still enjoy feasting on pork at Easter time. In the United States ham serves as a traditional Easter dish.
Myers, Robert J. Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1972. Weiser, Francis X. The Easter Book. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1954.
Pig (Boar)(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
The Pig is one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. It refers to one of the 12 earthly branches that are used in Chinese astrology, together with the 10 heavenly stems. Such a branch designates one day every 12 days: the days are named according to a sexagesimal (60) cycle, made of 10 series of 12 branches.
Kind, affectionate, scrupulous, courteous, and without problems, the Pig is a nice person—too nice, perhaps, for he may get on people’s nerves. On the other hand, this generous and peaceful person may prove to be too innocent. Fortunately, he has a lot of luck. He often is a cultured intellectual and he enjoys food. He likes nature and solitude.
in metallurgy, a small ingot of metal—such as pig iron, a nonferrous metal, or a ferroalloy—in the shape of a bar, usually with a contraction. Pigs are cast horizontally in a mold that is open at the top in, for example, casting machines.
What does it mean when you dream about a pig?
Dreaming of a pig may symbolize dirtiness, greediness, or selfishness. For example, someone who overindulges in food is said to eat “like a pig,” and a dirty or slovenly person is sometimes disparagingly called a”pig.” Alternatively, the pig may represent feasting and opulence, as in banquets where the roasted pig with an apple in its mouth is the adorned centerpiece on the table. In Chinese astrology, the pig is the twelfth sign of the zodiac and symbolizes manly strength.