Skip to comments.Why all our pigs are having a ball (I am not making this up)
Posted on 01/29/2003 10:05:35 AM PST by IowaHawk
FARMERS throughout the country have 90 days to put a toy in every pigsty or face up to three months in jail. The new ruling from Brussels, which is to become law in Britain next week, is to keep pigs happy and prevent them chewing each other.
Official instructions to farmers are to give pigs environmental enrichment by providing manipulable material, which the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last night defined as balls.
A spokesman said: We mean footballs and basketballs. Farmers may also need to change the balls so the pigs dont get tired with the same one. Different colour ones will do. These rules are based on good welfare. We dont want to come across as the nanny state, but the important thing is to see pigs happy in their environment and they like to forage with their noses.
He added that hanging chains were also good, since pigs could brush their noses against them. The Government is not ready to recommend specific toys, however, because they know of no firm manufacturing playthings for pigs.
But farmers should be careful about scoffing at the idea: they could be fined up to £1,000 or jailed for three months if they fail to amuse their stock. And Neville Meeker, who farms near Warminster in Wiltshire, was told by a farm standards official last week that he will lose the right to use the red tractor farm logo to market his pork if he does not buy a toy for each of 64 sties.
Mr Meeker, who has 1,200 pigs, said: I have a note here which says toys must be placed in the sties. I havent a clue what it means. Yesterday he tried out a plastic aeroplane and a grey furry teddy bear. They seemed to please a small group of piglets, but he was less enthusiastic: These toys wont last two minutes. Weve got to give them something that is hard-wearing. It has to be durable enough to withstand chewing for at least six months and we cant use wood because that will cause splinter injuries and pieces could get caught in pigs throats.
He is also worried about the safety aspect of having toys scattered on pen floors.
He said: I cant have chains because the roof of the unit is not strong enough. Pigs would just pull it down. Sadly I dont have an old beam. I suppose I will just have to buy some balls.
In a letter to Farmers Weekly he complains: Yes, the day of the toy inspector has arrived, and it is not a TV spoof. It is the dictators of Europe who have thought this up. Good job the January sales are on. Hamleys here we come.
He was worried, too, that he needed just one toy for every sty with 20 pigs. Will this cause fighting? I remember how children react.
Mark White, past president of the Pig Veterinary Society, said: Pigs have a habit of chewing each other and they do it in all environments and especially go for pigs tails and ears. Animal welfarists have been arguing that we should not dock tails of pigs. Some believe it is unnecessary mutilation for aesthetic and not for medical reasons. They think if we provide pigs with things to relieve their boredom then they will not chew each other.
He suggested softwood logs, ships buoys and plastic piping.
All your pigs' balls are belong to us...
It was some sort of semi-rigid plastic, with a removable plug allowing the ball to be filled with either water or sand.
This is a truly offensive headline!! Sure, many Belgian women are good looks deprived, but that is not reason to call them ALL pigs.
I don't know. Putting a ball in the pigsty might lead to excesive competition that could lead to violence.
To amuse the pigs, it would be much better to tell farcical anecdotes about the integrity, intelegence, and bribeability of Eurinal politicians and bureaucrats and the mistresses that they keep.
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