One of the references cited in the draft Canadian Code of Practice for Pigs1 got me thinking about some video I took several years ago.
The Code’s Appendix K: “Pig Vision & Flight Zone” depicts the flight zone, balance point, and blind spot of a pig2. It came from a paper, ”Pig Vision and Management / Handling”3 whose authors claim that:
a pig relies primarily on smell and hearing to situate it in its surroundings and uses sight to complement information gathered by sound and smell whereas humans rely primarily on vision and use sound and smell to complete the information obtained through vision.
when humans sense a problem they typically stop and look for the cause whereas a pig will stop and sniff the floor.
The paper emphasizes: ”It is important to keep in mind that the personnel that handle the animals is always playing the role as a threat factor for the animals, this is what gets them to keep moving.”3
The authors recommend that we avoid changes in floor surfaces, strange objects, variable light… that encourage the pig to keep stopping and sniffing, and to move small groups of 5-7 animals so that when some animals do stop you can threaten and excite the ones closest to you enough to get all pigs moving again.
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