A Belgian farmer, Piet Paesmans, says that he pigs particularly like jolly dance songs. He can tell because they start wagging their tails. If the songs are “dynamic” they start to dance around and frolic. But they find rock music too strong and don’t like it. In short, pigs appreciate human music. And Paesmans first noticed this when his son started singing a tune in the barn at which point his sows seemed to become excited and started to wag their tails.
He’s created a playlist which includes certain types of music for certain times of the day. For example, he plays energetic music when he wants his pigs to be active and at the end of the day, he plays lullabies to put them to sleep.
The informal research has caught the eye of scientists who have secured $76,770 in funding from the EU Fund and the Belgian region of Flanders to investigate because it may improve pig farming by which I mean improve the quality of their meat.
For someone like me, it is very ironic that here we have a farmer who has firmly confirmed that pigs are sentient beings and who like music and are intelligent and yet he goes on slaughtering them to be eaten. You would think that knowing this would put a brake on farming. I guess it depends upon your mentality. I’ve stopped eating pork – the flesh of pigs – because I’ve decided they are too intelligent and too obviously sentient with senses and sensibilities. I just don’t think we should eat them and actually that applies to all livestock.
The scientific study’s coordinator Sander Palmans said that not much is known about how pigs appreciate music but that this farmer’s experience squares up with current knowledge about the effects of sounds in general on animals.
They said: “There is without a doubt an effect of specific noises on animals. So, it’s really possible that music can have the same effect”. He thought that it could be used to relieve boredom and stress in farm animals.
Stress can have a negative impact upon the quality of livestock meat. He said that: “When they are slaughtered, you can see when they’ve had too much stress. It’s really important for the quality of the meat.”
The scientific study will be published later in 2022.
Below are some more articles on pigs.