Why Pigs Don't Have Sex Anymore
Artificial insemination is better and faster for farmers
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2014 5:30 PM CDT
Hogs poke their snouts through a fence at a farm in Buckhart, Ill.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

(Newser) – Pity the modern boar: He roams the pen for a sow that's ready to breed and when he's about to, er, take action, a farmer appears with a catheter in his hands. The poor guy has been replaced by artificial insemination. That's because nearly 90% of today's pig farmers inseminate sows artificially, up from 2% to 4% in the 1980s, a swine-breeding specialist tells Pacific Standard. Why the change? Well, a single boar ejaculation can impregnate many sows, and the resulting piglets will be pretty similar. "If we sit down to dinner at a restaurant, both order a pork chop and yours is twice as big as mine, I might go away unhappy," a researcher says.

It's also easier to have FedEx or a retired farmhand transport a bag of semen than to move boars between big, modern, specialized farms, where sows and piglets are kept in separate facilities; now one boar can do the job at a 300-sow farm that would have previously required 20. One downside: A study found that sows in Spain were failing to reproduce because of chemicals in Chinese-made semen-storage bags, National Geographic reports; the bags were replaced and the pigs' fertility rebounded. On a more positive note for pigs, consumer pressure is leading big US pork producers to put pigs in roomier, shared pens instead of small spaces where they have no room to turn around, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. (Now find out why some sows drink "piglet smoothies.")

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Jul 9, 2014 3:55 PM CDT
It is just cruel to keep any animal in a cage that is not large enough for them to move around in! All animals need space, a place to run, sleep and just be themselves!
Alisa Mullins
Jul 9, 2014 8:12 AM CDT
I think pigs have a lot more to worry about than a lack of a sex life. Being slaughtered at 6 months old is probably way up there.
Jul 8, 2014 8:15 PM CDT
Trivia time: If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days, you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee. (Hardly seems worth it) If you fart consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb. (Now that's more like it) A pig's orgasm lasts for 30 minutes. (In my next life I want to be a pig) (How'd they figure this out, and why?) Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour. (Don't try this at home ...maybe at work?) (Still can't get over that pig thing) Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure. (Is that why Flipper was always smiling?) (And pigs get 30-minute orgasms? Doesn't seem fair) The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue. (Hmmmmmmmmm........) Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people do. (If you're ambidextrous, do you split the difference?) The ant can lift 50 times its own weight, can pull 30 times its own weight and always falls over on its right side when intoxicated. (From drinking little bottles of...?) (Did taxpayers pay for this research??) Polar bears are left handed. (Who knew....? Who cares? How'd they find out, ask them?) The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds. (What can be so tasty on the bottom of the pond?) The flea can jump 350 times its body length. It's like a human jumping the length of a football field. (30 minutes...can you imagine?? And why pigs?) A cockroach will live nine days without it's head, before it starves to death. (Creepy) The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male's head off. (Honey, I'm home. What the....) (Well, at least pigs get a break there...) Some lions mate over 50 times a day. (In my next life I still want to be a pig... quality over quantity) Butterflies taste with their feet. (Oh, geez. That's almost as bad as catfish) An ostrich's eye is bigger than it's brain. (I know some people like that.) Starfish don't have brains. (I know some people like that too.) After reading all these, all I can say is...... ......Lucky Pigs...