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A strange catastrophe struck Spain’s pig farmers in the spring of 2010. On 41 farms across the country—each home to between 800 and 3,000 pigs—many sows suddenly ceased bearing young.
On some farms, all the sows stopped reproducing. On others, those that did become pregnant produced smaller litters.
When investigators examined the sows and the semen that had been used to artificially inseminate them—it had been collected from different boar studs and refrigerated—they couldn’t find anything wrong. The sperm cells weren’t misshapen. None of the sows were diseased. No microbes or fungal toxins were detected in their feed or water.
Only one factor was common to all the farms and studs: The plastic bags used for semen storage all came from the same place.
Investigating those bags has led Cristina Nerín, an analytical chemist at the University of Zaragoza who studies packaging materials, to publish new research that traces the pigs’ infertility to chemical compounds in the plastics.
Tag Archives | Pigs
Really? I think he should sue (eeeeeeeeeee!).
Greater Manchester Police arrested a man who put on a pig mask, toy helmet and reflective jacket in order to perform “comical parodies” about the behavior of law enforcement officials.
New Moston man Steven Peers was arrested on suspicion of impersonating a police officer after he put on the costume to call attention to how GMP officers conducted themselves during anti-fracking protests.
The 46-year-old was arrested after being stopped by an officer outside a police station.
“My reaction to being arrested was total disbelief. I was wearing a toy hat and a pig mask and was arrested for impersonating a police officer. It’s ridiculous,” Peers told the Manchester Evening News. “If they want to take it to court they will be a laughingstock because there is no substance to it whatsoever.”
Scientists at the South China Agricultural University announced last week that they had successfully engineered 10 piglets that could glow green under black light. By using a technique pioneered by the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Medicine, the researchers were able to isolate a fluorescent protein in jellyfish DNA and inject it into pig embryos. Turkish researchers were able to raise fluorescent rabbits with the University of Hawaii's technique earlier this year.
Let’s see… who gets to be pissed off first? Scientists? Religious fundamentalists? The pork lobby? Al Gore? I’m going to go pop some popcorn.
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Turning the theory of human ancestry on its head, Dr Eugene McCarthy — one of the world’s leading authorities on hybridization in animals from the University of Georgia has suggested that humans didn’t evolve from just apes but was a backcross hybrid of a chimpanzee and pigs.
His hypothesis is based on the fact that though humans have many features in common with chimps, there are a lot more that don’t correspond to any other primates. He then suggests that there is only one animal in the animal kingdom that has all of the traits which distinguish humans from our primate cousins.
“What is this other animal that has all these traits? The answer is Sus scrofa – the ordinary pig” he says.
Perhaps the real reason human beings feel the urge to keep kosher/halal is that in pigs we subconsciously recognize a glimmer of ourselves. Phys.org reports:
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Dr. Eugene McCarthy is a Ph.D. geneticist who has made a career out of studying hybridization in animals. He has amassed an impressive body of evidence suggesting that human origins can be best explained by hybridization between pigs and chimpanzees. Extraordinary theories require extraordinary evidence and McCarthy does not disappoint. Rather than relying on genetic sequence comparisons, he instead offers extensive anatomical comparisons, which are startling when taken together.
The list of anatomical specializations we may have gained from porcine philandering is too long to detail here. Similarities in the face, skin and organ microstructure alone are hard to explain away. A short list of differential features would include, multipyramidal kidney structure, presence of dermal melanocytes, melanoma, absence of a primate baculum (penis bone), surface lipid and carbohydrate composition of cell membranes, vocal cord structure, laryngeal sacs, diverticuli of the fetal stomach, intestinal “valves of Kerkring,” heart chamber symmetry, skin and cranial vasculature and method of cooling, and tooth structure.
Little more remained of hog farmer Terry Vance Garner than his dentures, the Guardian reports:
Oregon authorities are investigating how a farmer was eaten by his pigs. Terry Vance Garner, 69, never returned after he set out to feed his animals last Wednesday on his farm near the Oregon coast, the Coos county district attorney said on Monday.
A family member found Garner’s dentures and pieces of his body in the pig enclosure several hours later, but most of his remains had been consumed, the district attorney, Paul Frasier, said. Several of the pigs weighed 320kg (700lb) or more.
It is possible Garner had a medical emergency, such as a heart attack, or was knocked over by the animals, then killed and eaten, Frasier said, adding that at least one pig had previously bitten Garner.
Hog farming is even grosser than you imagined. Farms keep spontaneously blowing up due to chemical interactions involving bacteria-laden gas and a brown goop of sketchy origin. Ars Technica writes:
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Since 2009, six farms have blown up after methane trapped in an unidentified, pit-topping foam caught a spark. In the afflicted region, the foam is found in roughly 1 in 4 hog farms.
There’s nothing farmers can do except be very careful. Researchers aren’t even sure what the foam is. “This has all started in the last four or five years here. We don’t have any idea where it came from or how it got started,” said agricultural engineer Charles Clanton. “Whatever has happened is new.”
A gelatinous goop that resembles melted brown Nerf, the foam captures gases emitted by bacteria living in manure, which on industrial farms gathers in pits beneath barns that may contain several thousand animals. The pits are emptied each fall, after which waste builds up again, turning them into something like giant stomachs: dark, oxygen-starved percolators in which bacteria and single-celled organisms metabolize the muck.
The bizarre case of Anna Gristina, the accused millionaire madam being charged with running a widespread prostitution ring in the Upper East Side, got even more absurd as her history of pig rescuing and posing in racy photographs surfaced on Wednesday.
Susan Magidson, who has worked with Gristina in saving six pigs over the last few years, told the New York Times:
Pigs are one of Anna’s passions. When people love pigs, in my opinion, they are special and unique — and in my opinion, the chosen ones — because they’re just such a special animal, highly intelligent, emotional animal, so it’s like working with orphans.
All which raises the question, who exactly is Gristina? Is she the 44-year-old, suburban mother of four? A brothel queen bee with nude model ambitions? Or is she simply a misunderstood swine lover?