behavior · happiness · health · mental health

Playing with the piggies

Pigs are incredibly intelligent creatures that need enrichment and play just like we do. This is a great story about providing enriching environments and play to livestock, similar to what Temple Grandin advocates here in the U.S.

“[R]esearchers at Wageningen University [in the Netherlands], in the course of their research on ethical livestock farming, noticed that pigs like to play with dancing lights…European regulations currently require that pig farmers provide mentally-stimulating activity for their pigs in order to reduce boredom…” (via mother jones)

The coolest part is, HUMANS would get to interact and play with pigs:

“As a farmer, you’d get to play video games with your hogs, and the gameplay might actually have the added benefit of making the animal’s life happier and healthier.

The system includes a giant screen that broadcasts a swirl of glittering colors and lights next to the pigpen. The human participant controls the wall-sized screen remotely with an iPad, and the pigs react by touching and following the light designs with their snouts. Clement notes that researchers hope that this will all “open up new questions in debates about animal farming and welfare in the digital age…”  (via mother jones)

Check out the video:

The Playing with Pigs project is researching the complex relationship we have with domesticated pigs by designing a game. Designing new forms of human-pig interaction can create the opportunity for consumers and pigs to forge new relations as well as to experience the cognitive capabilities of each other. The game is called Pig Chase.

For additional background, visit the Playing with Pigs project website:

Pretty cool idea to let humans and livestock interact with each other in different ways.