A group in The Netherlands are developing a whole new concept of enrichment for pigs, that enriches our lives too. The Playing With Pigs
project is the first of it's kind to develop a game to be shared between pigs being farmed for human consumption and those humans soon to consume them. Too often in today's consumer world do we disconnect the dots between the meat on our plates and the animal who it comes from.
Playing With Pigs is intended to be a iPad game like no other. Human players will touch the screen and drag a coloured dot around which is connected to a large screen in a pig farm. The pigs on this farm will then be able to chase and play with the light show being controlled by the human player.
Will this change the way the human players view their bacon? will they connect with the intelligence of those animals, or will they feel justified in their meat consumption on the grounds that the pigs got to play?
Certainly, it is arguable that this form of enrichment is simply not suited to pigs. Pigs wish to roam free, root around in the soil and search for tasty morsels. How rewarding will it really be to chase a light? My gut feeling is that a "colourful display of fireworks" wont quite cut it for the pigs. However, this is undoubtedy a fabulous consept. It will serve to remind people that their food comes from living, feeling creatures that can both suffer and experience the joys of life. If they can experience joy, is it not our job, as their caretakers, to provide them with joy during their short lives?
Really, this is just a reminder that an animal must exist, have a life and a death, for us to have bacon on our plate. 90% of pigs in the EU live in systems of utter deprivation. They live on slatted concrete floors, crammed in with other pigs. When buying pork, think of the pig (who, by the way, is as intelligent as a 3 year old human) that had to exist for you, and choose higher welfare. Look for labels such as 'organic', 'free range', 'outdoor reared', and 'outdoor bread'. For more information about choosing higher welfare pork visit: Compassion in World Farming - Buying Pork.
'Midway' is coming soon, but below you can view the trailer. A beautiful and tragic tale of the albatros and the affect of platic polution in the oceans.