Is Your Pig Bored? Engage Him With This iPad Game. Seriously.

'Pig Chase' piques the curiosity of intelligent swine.

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Is Your Pig Bored? Engage Him With This iPad Game. Seriously.
Cure swine boredom with 'Pig Chase'. (Photo: Playing with Pigs)

U.K. farmers and video game designers might seem like an unlikely pairing, but as Care2 reports, design researchers and farmers have been working together to develop a way to curb boredom in pigs.

The cramped hellish conditions of most factory farm pigs breeds not only disease, but boredom. Boredom often results in aggressive habits such as tail biting which in turn leads to painful "docking" or tail amputations.

A 2001 European Union law requires farmers to provide entertainment for the highly intelligent animals, but many haven’t been able to find an activity challenging enough for pigs.

Enter researchers at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) and Wageningen UR, in the Netherlands, who teamed up with farmers on the Playing with Pigs project, and developed a game called Pig Chase.

Both farmers and pigs enjoy the game, which not only fulfills the pig’s need for play, but will hopefully raise questions about the ethics of human-pig dynamic.

Pigs use their snouts to follow lights on a large sensitive display. The human uses an iPad to control the ball of light on the screen and when pig and human synchronize their movements, a fireworks display lights up on the screen.  We can only hope that American farmers soon import this technology to brighten the lives of pigs on our own factory farms.