Farm Ireland

Thursday 14 December 2017

Pigs don't fly but chase computers

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Forget about pigs flying -- they're too busy playing computer games to be bothered with that.

Pig Chase is a new computer game, developed by a team of Dutch scientists, in which pigs and humans interact with each other. The human player uses an iPad to generate different light effects on the wall of a pig pen.

The pigs, attracted by the light, touch the spot with their snout and will follow the light as it moves across the wall.

Pig Chase was developed by the Playing with Pigs project, a collaboration between the Utrecht School of the Arts, Wageningen University and Wageningen UR Livestock Research.

Animal Welfare Scientist Marc Bracke said pigs had a reputation for being intelligent and farmed pigs are required to have access to enrichment materials, in order to allow them to perform their natural behaviour and reduce boredom and tail biting.

"This legal requirement has led farmers to provide materials such as a plastic ball or a metal chain with some plastic piping," he said,

"However, these 'toys' for the most part neither resolve societal concerns nor do they appeal to the cognitive abilities of the pigs."

Caitriona Murphy

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