Pony Thought of the Day: Pigs. Again with the Pigs.

So I’ve got class issues in Equestria on my mind for various reasons, and I’m watching “Sisterhooves Social,” and I notice something: basically all hooved mammals in Equestria can talk, right? I mean, we’ve seen ponies, sheep, donkeys, and mules speak–it’s reasonable to assume pigs can, too, right?

So what’s up with the Apples gathering up the bruised apples to give to the pigs? Isn’t that kind of an awful thing to do to a sentient being?

And then you put on top of that the way they treat the sheep in that episode… is Applejack a racist speciesist?

0 thoughts on “Pony Thought of the Day: Pigs. Again with the Pigs.

  1. 1. Could it be your bias against Applejack making you leap to conclusions? Any of the Mane 6 do not fare well to unforgiving readings.
    2. Do they have full cognition? We have seethe cows especially make really really bad decisions sometimes. Maybe it's a caretaker situation, where Ponies are taking care of beings that are the equivalent of developmentally delayed.

  2. The contexts in which we've seen mules (to my memory, Cranky and one of the chefs in the MMMMystery episode) and griffons suggests that they're treated as equal members of society and just not very common (possibly only in this region?). The context in which we've seen Zebras suggested that they're treated as foreigners here, implying they're the norm somewhere else. The pigs and cows, though, we've ONLY seen in the context of a farm. What does that imply?

    Well, maybe it's just that they are too stupid to take care of themselves. Certainly the cows' stampeding behavior suggests so. But if you want there to be there's room for darker interpretations, such as that they're *assumed* to be less intelligent and it becomes self-fulfilling (because that's *never* happened in real life, groups who are given sub-par education falling further behind. No-sir-re!). Certainly even if they were predisposed to being as smart as the ponies they'd still have the disadvantage of lacking supernaturally-enhanced “special talents” and might well have much more realistic (ie tool-unfriendly) biology. One doesn't get the impression that Applejack is being intentionally malicious, but she probably doesn't consider them capable of tending to themselves and there has to be some reason for that, whether she's correct or not.

    Alternately, Applejack's running a cow-and-pig orphanage out of the kindness of her heart to help the victims of some natural disaster that devastated a nearby cow-and-pig populated village, and as they grew they decided they liked it there so much they took on jobs around the farm. She gives them the bruised apples because she can't sell them at market. After all, you wouldn't expect the element of honesty to *sell* damaged product, would you?

  3. It's still the ponies tossing off somethign they don't want to their SLAVE RACE. (Okay, not really, I just have this bizarre fixation on Equestrian pigs.)

  4. Oh, I definitely don't think Applejack is being intentionally malicious, but racism does not require malice to be devastating.

    And I don't have a bias against Applejack! I find her incredibly boring, is all. Using her actions as evidence for ridiculous, unfounded theories about class relations and racism in Equestria is a desperate attempt to stay awake when she's on-screen. 😉

  5. We have seen no evidence that pigs are intelligent, and there is plenty of president for unintelligent animals in Equestria. Likewise, we have no evidence that the cws stay on a pony farm; for all we know they stay in their own little ethnic community just outside the main town. Ethnic communities develop all the time, usually with immigrants or others with shared cultural values who enjoy being around those who share their non-local lifestyle.

    The sheep on the other hand….yeah that one I can't really justify.

  6. We have seen no evidence that pigs are intelligent

    Except that every other hoofed mammal we've seen is intelligent. Why not pigs?

    Gasp! Maybe it's not the ponies that are porcine bigots! Maybe it's the writers! 😉

  7. Hooves does not automatically qualify one to be considered intelligent, intelligence does. We've seen no evidence that this is a universal rule of any sort. For example, despite it being common in fan works there is no evidence of intelligent deer. Similarly, though Iron Will used goats, they do not talk at all, but mostly bleat, chew on things, and perform simple tasks on command; evidence points to them being well trained animals.

    If the goats are not intelligent as I have argued, then it has been demonstrated that hooves do not equate to sentience. Therefore president is established for the argument of the nonsentience of pigs.

    Once again however, yeah the sheep are just disturbing.

  8. Well, the young buffalo from “Over a Barrel” sort of looked like a deer, but that's what young buffalo look like. I don't think we've seen a deer at all, actually.

    I suppose it's reasonable that the pigs are not sentient. It's still really, really weird that the ponies keep them, because domestic pigs are basically worthless if you don't eat meat–their shit is terrible fertilizer and their milk is gross.

  9. I always just read it as pigs having less discerning tastes than ponies. The ponies only want the unbruised apples, but the pigs will eat bruised or unbruised interchangeably, so maximum utility overall is achieved by the ponies taking the unbruised apples and giving the bruised ones to the pigs.

  10. We saw in Applebuck Season that cows, while sentient, still have deeply ingrained behaviors that can be detrimental to members of their own species as well as others, and that ponies function as caretakers for them at least in part because they can help curb these behaviors. My headcanon is that sheep are the same way- in particular, that left to their own devices with a food supply, sheep basically don't stop eating (which can destroy fields as well as cause sickness in the sheep) and ponies herd them out to pasture and back to regulate their intake.

  11. Good point on truffles. I don't know that much about truffle hunting, though; is there an advantage to keeping multiple pigs?

    That's also a good thought about sheep, but I'm a little uncomfortable with it. IRL, “they are savages and wouldn't be able to control themselves without our help” was actually something American slaveowners would say to justify the practice.

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