Happy pigs make better bacon
Pigs are being given toys to play with in their pens - because happier pigs make tastier pork, the Daily Mail reported Sunday.
On farms across Britain, the animals are being treated to an array of playthings to bite into - including ropes, rubber boots, and even rubber hoses hanging down from ceiling.
One big hit with the pigs has been a plastic gadget known as a Porcichew, which the animals can swing on in circles like children on a roundabout.
The toys are part of a 100,000-pound project funded by the British Pig Executive (BPEX) to improve conditions for pigs, the newspaper said.
Anxious pigs release more of the stress hormone cortisol, which affects muscles and so the quality of meat improves. Pork from stressed pigs is paler and softer.
Under new welfare rules next spring, pigs will be inspected three times a year and their happiness ratings will be logged by vets on a database.