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Deconstructing the Boar’s Head Logo: Turning Animals into ‘Beasts’

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Deconstructing the Boar’s Head Logo: Turning Animals into ‘Beasts’

From Free From Harm
August 2012

Boar's head little piggy animals as food

Have you ever taken a close look at the Boar’s Head logo? Have you ever seen this popular banner they offer to all of their retail customers to hang prominently in their store windows or walls? Boar’s Head draws on an ancient, mythological representation of the wild boar, which has actually nothing to do with its products, to reinforce the perception of the “wild beast” that must be killed or will kill us.

Here are some striking things I noticed right off the bat:

  1. The disconnect between the message and the image. The message line refers to a “little piggy” while the artwork refers to a demonic-looking wild boar who looks like he would tear up anything that crossed his path. Yet it is a well-established fact that wild boars generally avoid human contact altogether. And, um, they eat plants.
  2. Neither domesticated pigs nor wild boars nor any of the animals killed for Boar’s Head brand meats or cheeses are wildlife or even predators. They are instead domesticated herbivores who exist only because of artificial insemination by humans. So they have little or no kill instinct. Farmers often comment about how mean pigs are. Both pigs and humans, when treated with disdain, tend to rebel.
  3. The tradition of hunting wild boars in Europe and other parts of the world can be traced back to ancient times. There is a vast mythology in literature. The artwork in the Boar’s Head logo is clearly connected to the images of wild boars from the mythological past.
  4. Wild boars are often mistaken with feral pigs which have actually come to be classified as “invasive species” in several states. To ranchers and other farmers, they are simply a nuisance that causes a lot of property damage. Who created this feral pig problem? You guessed it. The farmers themselves. Feral pigs are escapees from pig farms. Many states in the US actually recommend shooting these animals on sight.

This is just one example of how food brands manipulate and distort the truth in subtle and not so subtle ways. They draw on ancient myths and superstitions about animals that turn them into beasts suitable for killing and eating, rather than the intelligent and sentient beings they truly are. In this case, pigs are considered, at least by human standards of intelligence, to be one of the most intelligent species of all.