Shake bacon? Belgian researchers study pigs’ response to music


BRUSSELS – Belgian scientists are investigating a farmer’s claim that different styles of music affect the behavior of his pigs.

Mr. Piet Paesmans first noticed the phenomenon when his son started singing a tune in the stable during a slow insemination session. His sows looked excited and started wagging their tails.

“I thought it was too good to pass up, we should also try with the other pigs,” Paesmans told Reuters from his farm halfway between Brussels and the Dutch border.

He’s since created a playlist to coincide with different parts of the day, playing high-energy music when he wants the piggies active and lullabies at the end of the day.

“The happy dance songs are the biggest hits. They really start wagging their tails and when it’s really dynamic they even start dancing and frolicking. The rock music is too loud, they don’t like it” , said Mr. Paesmans.

The farmer informed a team of researchers who secured funding of 75,000 euros (S$106,000) from a European Union fund and the Belgian region of Flanders to investigate the allegations.

According to project coordinator Sander Palmans, not much is known about how pigs react to music, but Paesmans’ experience matches existing knowledge about the effects of sounds in general on animals.

“There is definitely an effect of specific noises on animals. So it’s really possible that music could have the same effect,” he said, adding that it could help ease the boredom associated with the stress.

The findings could have practical impacts for the industry because meat quality is affected by stress in animals, Paesmans said.

“A top athlete must be in perfect physical shape, but also mentally. And it’s the same for pigs. When you slaughter them, you see when they’ve had too much stress… It’s really important for the quality of breeding. Meat.”

The research results are expected by the end of the year. Reuters


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