First split hooved pigs in the Americas

Image of wild boar in present day Hong Kong
The species that make up the family Suidae are known as the pigs. All species in this family originated in Old World Europe, Africa, and Asia. 

Almost all of these pigs were domesticated from Sus scrofa, otherwise known as the wild boar, (also known as the “wild swine”, “common wild pig”, or simply “wild pig”) is a suid native to much of the Palearctic, as well as being introduced in the Nearctic, Neotropic, Oceania, the Caribbean islands, and Southeast Asia. The modern pig is the result of thousands of years of human activity at the same time as natural selection. 

Above: Image of map showing zoological classification Palearctic. 

For the purposes of this blog, the map of the Palearctic area is relevant to the Iberian Peninsula, on which I have run a theme over many previous blogs.

Since the pig was domesticated over thousands of years, beginning around 9000 years ago, by the time Colombus arrived in the Bahamas, pigs were often carried on ships and ran along with invading armies as a source of fresh meat when needed.

They belong to the order of domestic artiodactyls. Keeping them fattened reduces their inherited mobility and dulls their usually bright brains. Research has shown pigs to be smarter than dogs.

As pigs can eat almost anything (omnivores) and survive in most environments and climate conditions, they are easy to maintain and transport. Thus they have become a source of food in most parts of the world.

However the Jewish religion forbids the eating of pork.

I found this explanation, which I have edited:

Why Do Jews Not Eat Pork or Crab?


I was wondering, why can’t Jews eat pork or crab?


In the Bible……..two requirements for an animal to be kosher (fit to eat) for a Jew: Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves. Pigs do have split hooves but do not chew their cud, so we cannot eat pig meat and its derivatives. In the seafood department, we may only eat fish that have both fins and scales.

Here is a translation of the original Divine command, from Deuteronomy, Chapter 14:8-10:

And the pig, because it has a split hoof, but does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You shall neither eat of their flesh nor touch their carcass.

These you may eat of all that are in the waters; all that have fins and scales, you may eat.

But whatever does not have fins and scales, you shall not eat; it is unclean for you.

……….there are moral lessons we derive from them.

Here are several given:

The birds and many of the mammals we do not eat are predators, while the permitted animals are not. We are commanded not to eat those animals possessive of a cruel nature, so that we should not absorb these qualities into ourselves.

The commandment refines the person and instills self-discipline.

Chani Benjaminson”

Jews and Muslims share their rejection of pork.

Throughout history, many nations have rejected Jews and Muslims, and they seem to be partial to eating pork. At the time of Colombus (it is now thought he was a Genoese Jew, but concealing the fact) Jews were persecuted in the Iberian Peninsula, though had been accepted centuries earlier when the Moors (Muslims) occupied much of the Peninsula. 

There is no doctrinal reason for Christians to avoid any kind of food.

Thus it was that the native pagan people of the Bahamas and later much of Latin America were invaded by fervent Christians. They were also presented with pigs, a creature which had never stepped a split hoof on their soil.

As animal diseases can cross to humans, such as swine flu, it is imperative to ensure health and safety when caring for animals.

About borderslynn

Retired, living in the Scottish Borders after living most of my life in cities in England. I can now indulge my interest in all aspects of living close to nature in a wild landscape. I live on what was once the Iapetus Ocean which took millions of years to travel from the Southern Hemisphere to here in the Northern Hemisphere. That set me thinking and questioning and seeking answers. In 1998 I co-wrote Millennium Countdown (US)/ A Business Guide to the Year 2000 (UK) see
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