A reader named Jess wrote to ask, “Mr. Answers, do pigs sweat?”
Good question, Jess! I’m preferring not to wonder why you’ve asked it—but good question!
Since time immemorial the worlds’ greatest philosophers, scientists, and artists have pondered the eternal question of porcine perspiration. As the inimitable William Shakespeare put it in his famous Love Sonnet 99:
The forward violet thus did I chide:
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,
If not from my love’s breath? The purple pride
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells
I wonder if pigs sweat?
The question persists to this day—and reaches into all areas of culture. In a recently aired PBS documentary entitled, “Perspiration and Sus Scrofa Domesticus: Now Give Us Money,” Bob Clampett, the originator of the cartoon character Porky Pig, said, “The public was so keen on this whole question of whether pigs sweat that finally Friz Freleng asked me to come up with a cartoon pig. ‘Put him in a blue coat and little red shorts!’ he told me. ‘Put a bow-tie on him! See if you can make him sweat!’ Freleng was an idiot. But dang if that little pig didn’t become pop-pop-pop-pop a hit.”
A lack of conclusive evidence on the matter has left modern researchers divided into two camps: SAIPP (Scientists Against the Idea that Pigs Perspire) and BSLP (Babe Sweat Like a Pig). Scientists outside that particular realm of inquiry are unanimous in their conviction that those within it should consider getting real jobs and stop embarrassing themselves.
Try asking a pig such questions as, “Have you ever tried to escape?” or, “Do you have self-esteem issues?”—and then watch that pigs brow and upper snout for signs you’ve made him sweat! Best of luck to you!