In a huge porcherie near Poitiers, a large group of bulbous white pigs rise on their hind legs, grasping the hindquarters of the pig in front with their fore-trotters. Other pigs hook up likewise until they form a gigantic conga line. They boogie through the mulch of feed, straw and merde on the floor, squealing madly. Then they all fall over in the muck twitching and oinking.
In British piggeries, huge crowds of pigs will surround pairs of pigs wrestling in the muck. The crowds’ squealing can be heard for miles. Other pigs have been observed lying on top of each in a position suggesting that they’re trying to have sex in the missionary position.
Yesterday, Doktor Herman Fleisch, chief veterinarian of the powerful Bavarian Pork Bund gave his diagnosis: Europe’s pigs are suffering from porcine spongiform encephalopathic syndrome, or Mad Pig Disease. The BPB was inundated with frantic calls from global pork interests. The big question: can PSES jump species? Is it possible for human pork eaters to start behaving like mad pigs? European talking heads have had a field day with the epidemic’s rapid spread in the unpopular UK. Most frequently heard joke: How can you tell when a Brit has mad pig disease? Answer: you can’t.
Many farmers disagree with Doctor Fleisch’s diagnosis. Increasingly, they have been installing TVs in piggeries because TV-viewing pigs gain weight 200% faster than non-TV-viewing ones. Could be, say dissenters, that the pigs are just emulating human behavior they see on screen.
Such explanations cut no ice with one vocal minority: Europe’s rapidly growing Muslim communities. The Halal Group an EU-wide association of butchers and farmers who observe strict Koranic rules on the slaughtering of meat-animals, issued a statement celebrating the epidemic as divine retribution for Europe’s decadence.
Their schadenfreude may be premature. Earlier today, reports began to filter into Western media from Pakistan of goats break-dancing on the roofs of single-story dwellings and attempting to direct traffic at busy intersections.