The Current

'Lesser Beasts' explores our uneasy relationship with the humble pig

Could the pig be the most misunderstood animal of all? Adore them, or abhor them. Hate them, or plate them. Writer Mark Essig brings home the bacon with his new history of our long and muddied relationship with pigs.
Author of "Lesser Beasts" Mark Essig believes pigs deserve more respect and says they were key players in American colonization. (REUTERS/Jason Lee)
Mark Essig says humans are very conflicted as to what to make of the pig. (Basic Books)

The humble pig has been with us for a long stretch of human history. But it's a misunderstood animal, and an often-unloved one...  despite everything that it's done for us. 

The writer and historian Mark Essig has carved up that complicated history in a new book, "Lesser Beasts: A Snout to Tail History of the Humble Pig." 

Mark Essig joined us from Asheville, North Carolina.

This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.


Why pigs deserve to be spoiled - The Economist

Denmark's Drug-Free Pigs - The New York Times