Introductions and background of the study
Pig refers to all animals that belong to the genus Sus and family Suidae. Historically, pigs are believed to have originated from the wild boar. Currently we have wild pigs and domestic pigs in the world (Bell, 2000). This study is about the domestic pig. The domesticated pigs are normally kept by people as livestock. Pig provides human beings with pork, bacon, hair and leather. There are also some breeds of pig that are kept as pets in some parts of the world. On the other hand, there are numerous negative effects and beliefs associated with pig which are not based on facts but religion, cultural beliefs and superstitions (Wilson, 2009). In some parts of the world pigs are deemed as dirty animals and are not eaten by people. There are some religions such as Islam that associate pig with evil. To Muslims, God himself, Allah, barred humankind from eating pigs or even associating with them (Hakim, 2008).
Although most of the negative effects associated with pigs are just superstitious, there are several health and environmental negative effects of pigs that make people hate them. Pigs are very destructive to the environment if they are not reared well (Walrath, McBride & Harald, 2010). They can destroy the soil cover crops and expose soil to erosion if allowed to graze freely by themselves. They also carry and spread dangerous bacteria and viruses that are harmful to human beings (Jeremy, 2009). There is no adequate studies conducted to highlight on the effects of pigs and this has left people to make judgements based on their cultural beliefs, religious teachings, pasts experience with pigs and other unproven stories to make conclusions on the effect of pigs (Hakim, 2008).
It is therefore necessary to conduct a study on the effects of pigs in order to provide a rich literature on the effects of pigs. This study aims at highlighting both the positive and negative effects of pigs in order to come with an inclusive conclusion on whether pigs are of more beneficial or harmful to the human beings. The study will serve as a source of information for future researchers who may wish to conduct more studies in this field. For instance scholars and researchers who wish to conduct an empirical study about the effects of pigs to human beings and the environment can use the findings of this study to base their arguments. Students and other members of the public can also use the findings of this study to enrich themselves on the effects of pigs. The study will also eliminate the existing ambiguity of information that exists on the effects of pigs.
The study will normally constitute a literature review of the readily available information on the effects of the pigs. This will include information from books, academic articles, journals, verifiable online sources and reports from previous scholars on how pigs affect human beings and the environment. There is also an empirical study conducted on the members of the public to find their views on the effects of pigs. The respondents used in the study include people from all cultural and religious backgrounds and those with basic education. They are all over 18 years old and constituted both genders.
Questionnaires with close headed questions were issued to a sample population of 50 people who filled it and submitted back their views on the effects of pigs. A sample of 30 questionnaires was then taken for analysis in order to find out what people feel about pigs. Once the findings from the respondents is obtained, a combine analysis of the findings from both empirical study and literature review was done. The conclusion from the findings also includes recommendations on the effects of pigs based on the findings of the study. These include how pigs should be treated and how they can be reared to maximize their usefulness to human beings without adding more harm to the environment. There will also be recommendations for future study in order to uncover the issues not addressed in the study.
Results from the literature review
Pigs are the most popular domesticated large mammals on earth. There are over one billion pigs in the world currently (Otfinoski, 2009). Pigs are reared in all parts of the world and they exist in different species. Domestic pigs are normally reared for meat, leather and hair production. Some of the pig breeds such as the Pot bellied pig are reared as pets (Aiking, Boer & Vereijken, 2006). Although are are no numerous studies numerous studies conducted on the effect of pigs, the few readily available sources indicate that pigs have numerous effects to human beings and the environment (Holley & Tiffany, 2003).
Pigs have impacted human life positively for a long time even before the civilization of man. Pigs have been used as a source of food by human beings from different parts of the world. Provision of food is the major effect that pigs have two human beings. Domesticated pigs are widely used as a source of the meat, pork, especially in none Islamic countries (Jeremy, 2009). There are other various foods that are made from pigs and pig products such as pork sausage, bacon, pork scratchings, head cheese, black pudding and other food products from pigs. Other than food, some breeds of pigs also provide hair that is used to make brushes. Pig leather and fat are also used by human beings to make other products (Durrenberger & Kendall, 2006).
Pigs are also a source of entertainment and recreation for some people especially in Asia. They enjoy watching pigs play with mud in a pool. Some breeds of pigs are used as pets especially the Asian pot bellied pigs. This breed of pig is smaller than others and it is used as a pet in homes in the USA. In other parts of the world such as Europe where pigs are allowed to graze freely in the world, children find fun to play with them while chasing them down he plains. This serves as sources of leisure and keeps children busy (Cooper, 2012).
Pigs also serve as a source of income to human beings. Although pig products are used in almost all parts of the world, not all people keep pigs. Most of the people especially in India and Asia keep pigs as a source of income. Pigs are kept in big numbers and then sold for meat and other products both locally and internationally. USA, the EU and Canada are the world largest exporters of pigs. Money obtained from the sale of these pigs is used to cater for other expenses such as clothing and education. It is therefore evident that pigs improve the living standards of people by serving as a source of income (Cooper, 2012).
Pigs also help in cleaning the environment. Pigs are mostly fed on the waste products from the farm and kitchen (Prolit, 2004). These wastes could find their ways to the environment if there were no pigs. On the other hand, the pigs’ waste product is used as fertilizer by farmers to improve soil fertility. When the waste is collected from the pig sty and spread on the farm, nutrients from the waste is then used by crops thereby improving the production. Their waste also improves the soil acidity and texture for proper growing of crops (McGlone & Pond, 2003). When pigs are allowed to graze freely in the fields, they break down the soil particles thereby helping in soil aeration (Prolit,2004).
The reviewed literature also showed that pigs have negative effects to human beings and the environment. Pigs can be destructive to the environment if allowed to graze freely, especially where pigs are kept in large numbers. Pigs are naturally omnivores and they tend to eat anything edible that they come across. When allowed to graze freely in the fields they destroy the vegetation cover. They also burrow holes in the ground thereby causing soil disturbance. When allowed to bath in the ponds, pigs causes water pollution and contamination. Pigs also have been reported to carry dangerous viruses and bacteria that are very harmful to human beings. Some of the major diseases that arise from pigs and are very dangerous to human beings include swine flue (Hakim, 2008).