If you’re vegan for because you love animals, avoiding lard is a no-brainer. That’s because pigs are intelligent. According to a 2015 International Journal of Comparative Psychology study, pigs share cognitive complexity with animals that most people think of as smart. Research indicates that pigs have personalities, they experience emotions, and they have some level of self-awareness. Many vegans are distraught at the idea of killing and eating any animal, especially one with this kind of intellectual ability.
The urban myth that pigs are more smarter than dogs? While that isn’t exactly true, neuroscientist Lori Marino told the Huffington Post, “as we compared the literature on pigs and other animals, we did find that in many domains pigs are as cognitively complex as dogs, primates.” Sadly, she admits that even this scientific proof isn’t enough to persuade most people to give up pork and its by-products. But, she said, “I hope the evidence on how aware, emotional and sensitive [pigs] are will reach some people who have the capacity to be empathic.”