Peacemaking Pigs: Find Out All About Them!

When it comes to solving their conflicts, pigs should be an example for all mankind to follow. Discover how these cunning pigs solve their problems.
Peacemaking Pigs: Find Out All About Them!
Sebastian Ramirez Ocampo

Written and verified by the veterinarian and zootechnician Sebastian Ramirez Ocampo.

Last update: 13 February, 2023

The domestic pig is undoubtedly one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. Several studies have affirmed that they have a greater capacity to solve problems than cats, dogs, and even some primates. In addition, their emotional intelligence is at another level, as they can feel emotions as complex as stress, fear or joy. But have you ever heard of peacemaking pigs?

Pigs continue to demonstrate cognitive qualities typical of human beings. This has been demonstrated in a new study that evaluated the behavior of these animals during conflict situations. Continue reading and discover what this particular social behavior is all about.

Pig conflicts

Whether for food, territory or reproduction, pigs have been fighting among themselves since their origins. With a powerful snout and strong teeth, this species can cause serious damage with its bite. Moreover, due to their thick build, clashes between specimens are quite violent.

In addition, like its ancestor, the wild boar, the pig retains a strong and explosive temperament. Therefore, it isn’t uncommon that, both in the wild and on production farms, pigs are constantly involved in fights. However, these acts within the herd don’t usually escalate and there’s always some sort of reconciliation between the parties involved.

Pigs fighting.

Until recently, it wasn’t known exactly how conflict resolution processes worked in this species. However, thanks to a study conducted on an Italian farm in the city of Turin, it became evident that one of the pigs acted as a mediator between those who were fighting. Peacemaking pigs to the rescue!

Peacemaking pigs

The study in question, published in the journal Animal Cognition, recorded the behavior of a herd of pigs on a production farm for 4 months. In this research, it became evident that, during a fight between two individuals, a third party intervened to act as a peacemaker in the conflictive situation.

According to the authors, this peacemaking pig would approach either the aggressor to try to reduce the number of attacks or the victim to try to calm them down. Likewise, its actions didn’t end there, as they also tried to bring about a reconciliation between the parties to end the conflict.

The social behavior of pigs in the post-conflict period

Once the fight was over, the researchers observed that both the mediator and the perpetrators of the conflict made gestures of reconciliation such as putting their snouts together, lying down next to each other or laying their heads on each other. Moreover, these actions could arise spontaneously from both the victim and the aggressor.

On the other hand, a rather peculiar type of behavior was reported in this study. Pigs that didn’t belong to the same family reconciled more often than those with parental ties. This, according to the researchers, is due to the fact that conflicts between relatives affect the coexistence of the herd less, so they tend to be resolved more easily.

Some pigs.

In short, the domestic pig continues to demonstrate its intellectual abilities and complex behavior in society. The emotional intelligence of these animals is to some extent equal to that of human beings. For this reason, we should give them the treatment they deserve as sentient and thinking animals.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Albernaz-Gonçalves R, Olmos G, Hötzel MJ. My pigs are ok, why change? – animal welfare accounts of pig farmers. Animal. 2021;15(3):100154.
  • Cordoni G, Comin M, Collarini E, Robino C, Chierto E, Norscia I. Domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) engage in non-random post-conflict affiliation with third parties: cognitive and functional implications. Animal Cognition. 2022.
  • Wang S, Jiang H, Qiao Y. The Research Progress of Vision-Based Artificial Intelligence in Smart Pig Farming. 2022;22(17).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.