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Pig (family Suidae, the most common species is Sus scrofa) also called hog, swine, or wild boar, is a large, omnivorous ungulate whose rapid breeding and growth make it an efficient food source for humans. Pig meat is called pork in general, and specific pork-based foodstuffs are called ham and bacon.

Pork was popular in ancient times in the cooler regions of Europe and Asia. However, in the very hot climate of the Middle East, this meat was difficult to maintain without refrigeration, and thus often caused food poisoning. The hygienic habits of pigs are also much less savory than those of cows, sheep, goats, and other food animals. Ergo, many cultures of that region have traditional taboos against eating pork, which is regarded as unclean. The Bible of Judaism (in its first section, called the Torah) and the Koran of Islam have famous passages describing such taboos. Christianity does not have such a prohibition; although it has the same passage as the Jewish version (Old Testament) of the Bible, it adds on a statement in a later part of the book (New Testament) where Jesus "declared all foods clean," which most denominations take to mean that the ban on pork (among other foods) has been lifted.

During the Inquisitions of Renaissance Europe (most infamously in Spain), suspected nonconformists were sometimes challenged to eat pork to affirm that they were not secretly Jewish or Islamic in their sentiments.

Literary comment[]

Due to his own background, Harry Turtledove often has his Jewish characters remark on the cultural matter regarding pigs. Only rarely does it have a significant impact on the plot.

Pig in Atlantis[]

Feral pigs were among the invasive species that displaced Atlantis' native wildlife beginning in the 15th century.

Pig in "Global Warming"[]

In the new "forest" regions, boars were seen as both predators or prey due to their omnivorous nature. While tasty, they were also swift and savage. More research was required for a final determination.

Pig in Days of Infamy[]

Occasionally, pigs would come to the POW camp in the Kalihi Valley, rooting for garbage. The American POWs would quickly hunt them with improvised spears. The custom was that those who actually caught the animal would get first choice but take no more than one meal's worth of meat leaving the rest for other prisoners. Jim Peterson managed to kill one mean razorback boar, more by chance, when he speared it in the heart.[1]

Pig in "The R-Strain"[]

The Jewish cultural text which prohibits eating pork, names the pig as an animal which has a split hoof but does not chew cud. Rabbi Aaron Kaplan, a Conservative Jewish scholar, set himself a task to determine whether this old stricture applied to the unprecedented, genetically engineered new species of cud-chewing pig.

Pig in Worldwar[]

The cultural refusal of the Jews and Muslims to eat the meat of pigs, while other groups of Tosevites ate the creatures without objection, was one of the more perplexing mysteries that The Race's cultural scholars found on Tosev 3.


  1. End of the Beginning, pgs. 155-156, HC.