Rock or pop – what gets a pig’s tail wagging?

11-08 | |
"There is without a doubt an effect of specific noises on animals."
"There is without a doubt an effect of specific noises on animals."

A pig farmer in Belgium believes that various types of music has an interesting effect on the behaviour of his pigs.

According to Reuters, pig farmer Piet Paesmans first noticed the phenomenon when his son started singing a tune in the sow barn during “a sluggish insemination session”. The sows, he said, appeared to enjoy the tune and became excited, wagging their tails.

Wanting to investigate this further, Paesmans created a playlist to coincide with different parts of the day. He played energetic music during times when he wants the pigs to be active and lullabies at the end of the day when the pigs settle down.

Reuters reports Paesmans saying that rock music is not to the pigs’ liking. “Jolly dance songs are the biggest hits. They really start wagging their tails and when it’s really dynamic they even start dancing around and frolicking,” Paesmans said.

A scientific study

A team of researchers in Belgium have secured €75,000 from an EU fund and the Belgian region of Flanders to investigate the pigs, their interest and behavioral response to music.

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

“There is without a doubt an effect of specific noises on animals. So it’s really possible that music can have the same effect,” said Palmans, adding that a happy pig can only be a good thing for the animals, the farmers and the industry as a whole.

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

Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist