If you've been longing to play an iPad game with a pig, not only are you adorable, you're in luck! Over in the Netherlands, three designers, a philosopher and an animal welfare specialist all concerned with ethical farming practices have designed an app concept called "Pig Chase," aimed at the two species the researchers found to be captivated by "light effects": pigs, and humans (pigs follow moving light with their snouts, humans are just "charmed").
Based on the suggestion of a farmer whose kids had just gotten a Wii, the researchers ditched ideas of painting the walls of pig pens to stimulate their pigs. With Pig Chase, via a tablet, human and pig players jointly steer balls of light on a pig pen wall toward targets. The pigs get to run around and equalize with their human masters, and the humans just might end up changing their "moral views on animal welfare," according to the Pig Chase press release. Check out the demo below, from the Utrecht School of the Arts' Vimeo page:
At its most direct, Pig Chase could help European farmers satisfy a 2001 EU directive requiring they "entertain" their charges as a way to eliminate the risky (and still very much practiced) procedure of tail amputations, or "docking," that's performed to stop bored, aggressive pigs from attacking each others' tails. The chances it'll catch on are higher than they might be for another animals: pigs are both the quickest animals to learn and the slowest to forget. Further down the line, the game could just lead to more of this, which we are also totally cool with.
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