Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig

Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig


Unlike different barnyard animals, which pull plows, supply eggs or milk, or develop wool, a pig produces just one factor: meat. exceedingly effective at changing nearly any natural topic into nourishing, delectable protein, swine are not anything in need of a gastronomic godsend—yet their flesh is banned in lots of cultures, and the animals themselves are maligned as filthy, lazy brutes.

As historian Mark Essig finds in Lesser Beasts, swine have any such undesirable popularity for exactly the related purposes they're so invaluable as a resource of nutrition: they're clever, self-sufficient, and omnivorous. What’s extra, he argues, we forget about our ancient partnership with those outstanding animals at our peril. Tracing the interaction of pig biology and human tradition from Neolithic villages 10,000 years in the past to fashionable commercial farms, Essig blends culinary and typical historical past to illustrate the immense value of the pig and the tragedy of its smooth remedy by the hands of people. red meat, Essig explains, has lengthy been a staple of the human nutrition, prized in societies from old Rome to dynastic China to the modern American South. but pigs’ skill to trace down and devour quite a lot of components (some of them surprisingly unpalatable to people) and convert them into suitable for eating meat has additionally led humans all through background to demonize the whole species as craven and unclean. Today’s unconscionable method of manufacturing facility farming, Essig explains, is barely the newest example of people taking pigs with no consideration, and the latest facts of the way either pigs and other people endure while our symbiotic courting falls out of balance.

An expansive, illuminating heritage of 1 of our most crucial but unsung nutrients animals, Lesser Beasts turns a focus at the humble creature that, maybe greater than the other, has been a mainstay of civilization when you consider that its very beginnings—whether we love it or not.

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