6 Pig-herd demography
DOI link for 6 Pig-herd demography
6 Pig-herd demography book
The pig herd in any region is in a state of constant ﬂux, not only as animals are born or die or the occasional one runs wild, but also as their owners give and receive them in exchanges with one another and intermittently slaughter beasts. Figure 3.2 gives some indication of the ﬂuctuation that occurs in pig numbers. A population can fall by some 50 per cent on occasion or, put the other way, double in size on others. The graph marks the principal
Figure 3.2 Pig populations by size classes
events responsible for the falls in numbers, which were large communal pig kills (see Sillitoe 1979a for ethnographic details) and a severe drought. The ﬂuctuation is expectable given the numerous reports from across the Highlands of festivals at which people kill large numbers of pigs; the magnitude is considerable. Others have documented similar population movements elsewhere (see Hide 1981: 405-18 for a sophisticated reconstruction of herd recovery following festival slaughters among the Sinasina). The droughtinduced fall might also have been expected given the periodic occurrence of devastating shortfalls in food supply across the region (see Sillitoe 1996: 73-102 on the occurrence and consequences of these in the Wola region), although the magnitude is salutary, paralleling a pig kill.