OUR MATCH ENDS TODAY! All monthly donations matched for a year. DONATE NOW
Piglets rescued from a factory farm enjoying life outdoors Rescued pig in a sanctuary

How smart are pigs?

Researchers have found that pigs are intelligent beings capable of remembering their surroundings, learning from their friends, and solving complex problems.

When you think of the smartest animals in the world, which ones come to mind? Perhaps you think of elephants, dolphins, or monkeys. If you live with your dog and cat, you might even picture your own companion animal.

While each animal is remarkable in its own way, some very playful and quirky creatures are often forgotten: Pigs. They’re smarter than our furry friends at home, and they’ve even outsmarted human children. 

Away from the overcrowded and inhumane conditions of factory farms, pigs are curious animals that form social bonds, just as we do. They even use previously learned knowledge to solve complex problems. 

Pigs are generally considered among the smartest animals on earth—along with dolphins and elephants!

So, what exactly are pigs capable of? And how does this change our tendency to view them as food? 

Can pigs tell time?

Like other intelligent animals, some studies suggest that pigs can distinguish between shorter and longer periods.

The length of time spent in crates has serious implications for mother pigs on factory farms, who are confined in cages for most of their lives. 

Pigs can even use information like sounds to predict future events. Their behaviors differ based on whether they think the future event will be good or bad. 

Pigs have impressive long-term memories

A pig’s memory is severely underestimated. Pigs can remember how to do complex tasks, like opening a box, for several months. Even if they watch other pigs accomplish a difficult task, they can remember and repeat the solution themselves. 

Yet, these intelligent creatures are often mutilated at a young age or held in filthy, disease-ridden conditions. If they can remember how to solve complex tasks, what else can pigs in factory farms remember?

Like dogs and chimpanzees, pigs remember their surroundings

Just like dogs and chimpanzees, pigs are capable of “spatial learning.” In other words, they can understand and remember information about their surroundings. They often use this spatial information to find food, and they can remember which spots had the biggest food stashes! 

Because of their spatial learning skills, pigs can even find their way through mazes. 

Pigs are sensitive and empathetic

If you’ve ever felt a surge of emotion while listening to your favorite song, you’re not alone. Just like humans, pigs have complex emotional responses to music. 

Pigs also show empathy for each other. When they watch their friends suffer, they show clear signs of distress. When their friends are happy, they wag their tails in celebration! 

When piglets fall ill on a factory farm, they are typically left to die and later thrown in the trash. 

Pigs learn from each other

Pigs are smart animals that understand and respond to how others see things. This is called perspective-taking. 

They can use visual cues to figure out what others know or want. For example, when searching for food together, pigs can learn from each other to find food faster. They can also tell if a person is paying attention, and they can follow a human pointing to find treats. 

Pigs have unique personalities

Personality is a complex concept that describes how individuals think, feel, and act. Like no two humans are alike, each pig has their own personality. For example, some pigs may be friendlier or more assertive than others. 

And just like humans experience different moods throughout the day, pigs tend to feel more optimistic or pessimistic as their moods ebb and flow. 

These complex social creatures endure some of the worst cruelties in the industry. Whether it’s being stabbed by swords or killed with hammers, they often aren’t given the compassion and dignity they deserve. 

How you can protect pigs

Pigs and other farmed animals are capable of happiness, sadness, pleasure, and pain. By replacing animal products with delicious, plant-based proteins, we can respect their intelligence and emotions. 

Sparing animals from suffering is simple, nutritious, and rewarding. You can get all the tips, recipes, and resources you desire for free by joining our project Love Veg.  

Piglet in a factory farm


Pigs, cows, and other animals feel pain and deserve to be protected from abuse.

You can protect these intelligent animals by simply choosing plant‑based alternatives.