Pig mourns its friend

All I know about this short video is the information in the title. It’s ineffably sad and makes me tear up.

Yes, pigs are intelligent, and can you doubt that this is mourning? How does the pig know that its longtime companion is not just sleeping? That’s above my pay grade, but the video bespeaks deep sadness. I weep for the pig who remains.


  1. BobTerrace
    Posted July 30, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    How does it know? No breathing, no body warmth, probably different smell, etc.

  2. Laurance
    Posted July 30, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m with you! Yes, this is sad, and the pig clearly understands that his/her companion is dead. Animals are NOT mere automatons. They have feelings and lives, too.

  3. Glenda Palmer
    Posted July 30, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Looks like the real thing – and with sadness involved. . …what has happened to my friend? Helps explain why a lot of people are happy to make pets of them.

  4. rickflick
    Posted July 30, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    He must be aware of the situation. We’ve all seen film of the meeting of animals separated for years, finally getting back together. The joy is clearly visible. Here we have the other end of the spectrum. *sniff*.

    • jezgrove
      Posted July 30, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Nicely put, rickflick. *sniff*

  5. Posted July 30, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    This is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. All I can say is that when my dog was dying of cancer earlier this year, our cat, who used to avoid the dog earlier, would come and sleep with her (the dog). I’ve no idea how aware of death the animals are, but they do seem to grieve. (OK, now I’m crying).

  6. Posted July 30, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ve noticed that scientists who actually make extensive observations of animals seem much more willing to admit that they have cognitive and emotional states similar to humans. Despite the attitude of other scientists that this is somehow unscientific.

  7. Mark R.
    Posted July 30, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink


    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 30, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Me too. The tears are pouring down my cheeks.

      • Mark R.
        Posted July 30, 2020 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        I can’t stop thinking: “sorry little buddy…”

  8. Posted July 30, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Soon after the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park, I visited and a docent related how a bison was taken down by a wolf the night before. He said that morning, other bison had gathered around the remains in a circle and stood there in silence.
    Animals have feelings, they have relationships, and perhaps some rudimentary milestone rituals that can tell us more about us.

  9. daniaq
    Posted July 30, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Own! That is one of the reasons I just can’t eat them! Luckily, vegan fake bacon is good enough for me.

    • Posted July 30, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      The reason I became a pescatarian years ago. I just hope PCC does not now post a picture of a fish mourning its dead companion.

      • daniaq
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        Haha!I hope it too! I only eat fish too! I wish I didn’t have to eat any animals, but it’s like my body thanks me when I eat them. I’ll try adding bugs to my diet now since I found a store that sells them online.

  10. daniaq
    Posted July 30, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Own! That’s why I just can’t eat them. Luckily vegan fake bacon is good enough for me.

  11. Roger Lambert
    Posted July 30, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know. Plenty of giant domestic pigs/ feral boars who would be very happy to eat you or me – alive.

    We all have dual natures and all living creatures need to eat. And most eat other creatures.

    • Mark R.
      Posted July 30, 2020 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      That’s not really the point of this post though, is it?

      • mikeb
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 5:34 am | Permalink

        The point would be that life–that paradoxical thing shaped by natural selection–is complicated. We can empathize with that which we eat. Some tribes ate their grandparents after death. (Not that I would.)

  12. Frank Bath
    Posted July 30, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    So touching. Pigs are such warm, friendly, delightful animals, please don’t eat them, nor any other quadruped. If you must eat meat fill up with fish and fowl.

    • mikeb
      Posted July 30, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Humans, too, are warm, friendly animals (sometimes), but that never stopped the sharks, bears, lions, etc. from chowing on us.

      We raise pigs for food on our farm–and for the delight of it, too. They have good lives here. It hurts to let them go . . . but, oh, that home cured belly and jowl…

      • Posted July 30, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        “but that never stopped the sharks, bears, lions, etc. from chowing on us.”

        Do you really think that argument is a moral argument? Have you heard of the naturalistic fallacy?

        • mikeb
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 5:31 am | Permalink

          Yes, I realized I erred: X is better than Y is the appeal to nature. X is moral because it’s seen in nature is the naturalistic fallacy. We don’t derive morals from nature.

          But who cares? It’s deeply moral to raise animals oneself, to ensure they have good lives, and to kill and eat them with gratitude. You will not see me eating the beef and pork grown commercially in ways I cannot know directly.

          • Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:03 am | Permalink

            What makes you the person who pronounces that it’s “deeply moral” to raise animals for food and then kill them? That is your opinion; it’s not the opinion of others. Have you read Peter Singer’s “Animal Liberation”?

            You can raise, kill, and eat your pigs if you want, but don’t try making the argument that it’s “deeply moral.”

            • Mate
              Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

              Just read to the end of the sentence: ” to ensure they have good lives”.

  13. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted July 30, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Yep, we’re probably still 50 years away from expanding our circle of moral concern to pigs and other intelligent animals we currently raise for food, but eventually, we’ll get there. Things like this might help.

    Meanwhile, to quote Tony Robbins: “Everything eats everything else. Now it’s my turn.”

  14. Posted July 31, 2020 at 2:54 am | Permalink


  15. Neil
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    Gradualism is a cornerstone of evolution.
    Is anything really novel in humans? So whilst we have highly delevoped language, tool use etc these things are not unique to humans, its just a matter of degree. So it makes sense that this is the case with other behaviours. I’ve always felt the problem isn’t the anthropomorphication of other animals but a failure to recognise that we are animals.

    • Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      No doubt we are animals. But humans are unique. For good or bad, no other single species has commanded the bulk of the earth’s resources like humans have. And what other species has travelled and sent robots to other worlds? Come on.

  16. Kevin
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Social animals form strong bonds with other individuals (peers, mates, offspring, parents)and interacting with these often involves putting the nervous system into a GO state or reactive condition: collective hunting, foraging, group defense, mating behaviour, reacting to hierarchies, play, feeding or managing the young.
    All these are favoured by high tone in the sympathetic nervous system (varying degrees of fight or flight) which are mediated by release of catecholamines
    (adrenaline and noradrenaline, serotonin and dopamine) also associated with elevated mood.

    When a social “norm” is abruptly removed (loss of a peer, relative, offspring etc) the body and brain responds with a form of switch off “shock” reaction:
    the opposite to fight and flight: switch down from the “GO” state to the panic “BETTER TO DO NOTHING” state:
    this is mediated by the parasympathetic nervous system (mostly governed by acetylcholine as the principle transmitter and a typical increase in the activity of the vagal nerve: see Vagal shock).
    It is a sort of despondency response but is an extreme “panic” reaction just the same.

  17. Kevin
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    [I sent these posts in bits because WordPress is behaving strangely]

    The typical nervous system reaction may include: reduced metabolism, redirection of blood away from skeletal muscle towards the abdomen,
    a drop in blood pressure and sluggish heart rate to the point of fainting and in some extreme cases even cardiac arrest (dying of grief).
    Loss of bladder and bowel control.
    Drying of the mouth, increased stomach acidity, cold sweats, blurring of vision, reduced responsiveness of the limbic and reticular system mediated by the amygdalla resulting in a reduced behavioural awareness and responsiveness.
    Change towards a “depressive” mood.
    Lethargy. “Letargo” in Italian/Latin actually means hibernation.

    There are also mechanisms of “dependency” normally mediated by dopamine/serotonin which go into crisis when the “dependee” disappears from the scene.
    These pathways may have something in common with the withdrawal from addictive drugs. Friends can be habit forming too!!

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