Almost 90 per cent of the nine million pigs slaughtered in Britain each year are put into gas chambers and exposed to high concentrations of carbon dioxide(CO2). Studies have shown these pigs gasp for air, squealing and struggling to escape for up to a minute before losing consciousness.
Ultimately, the new study adds to the abundant evidence of sophisticated intelligence in pigs, which is scientifically interesting and also has ethical implications for their treatment, management, and care.
“At the end of the day, I think the take-home message is this: We had no idea pigs were capable of doing even this level of conceptual learning,” Croney said. “If they can do this, what else could they be learning and responding to that I might not, as somebody interacting with them or working with them, be taking into consideration?”