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Artists explore how pigs like to play
A Popcorn Piñata was one of the objects created by artists Andrea Roe and Cath Keay.

Project reveals pigs’ enthusiasm for playtime

A piñata that dispenses popcorn and a pig version of KerPlunk are some of the novel items created by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) for an event which explores how pigs like to play.

The items are two of eight sculptural objects designed by Edinburgh College of Art lecturer Andrea Roe and Leverhulme Early Career Fellow Cath Keay. Video footage of the pigs interacting with the toys is now on show at the Roslin Institute.

Working with SRUC animal behaviour specialists, the artists chose materials that would encourage pigs to play and invite them to tear apart, smell and eat the objects. The items are all based on the theme of ‘carnival’ and include a ‘Fruit Machine’, ‘Apple Barrel’ and ‘Sweep Sensation’.

The idea is the brainchild of Professor Alistair Lawrence, chair of animal behaviour and welfare at SRUC and the Roslin Institute. Professor Lawrence’s team is focused on how enrichments encouraging ‘positive behaviour’ can play a part in farm animal welfare.

“The inclusion of animal-based welfare measures such as the ability to move freely and a positive human-animal relationship among the proposed guiding principles for World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) animal welfare standards reflects that positive welfare is now an active topic of discussion on the world stage,” explained Professor Lawrence.

The project formed part of Andrea Roe's artist-in-residence programme and revealed the pigs’ great enthusiasm for investigative play.

“Throughout the process of designing and making the objects we thought about what matters to pigs and carefully crafted objects that they could interact with and which would fit their body proportions,” she said.

Visitors to the Roslin Institute can view the video until the end of June. 

Image (C) Norrie Russell/The Roslin Institute

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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.