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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

Facts about pigs.


NUNLEY: They say it takes a strong stomach to watch the making of laws and sausage. So it's only fitting that in early March, just as presidential primary season moves into high gear, we observe National Pig Day. Pigs may be among the first animals domesticated by humans, possibly as early as 7,000 BC. Now pork producers say they're the world's largest source of animal protein. Pigs came to North America in 1539 with the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto. Escapees from his herds became the wild razorbacks of the southern US. Farmers used to call pigs and hogs mortgage lifters for their efficiency in producing usable food products. "Everything but the squeal" was the saying. It takes only 2 and a half pounds of grain to produce a pound of pork; that's much less than the 8 needed for each pound of beef. Still, the 95 million pigs consumed in the US last year themselves ate more than 31 billion pounds of grain. And for this first week of March 1996, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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