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The Effect of Environmental Enrichment on Learning in Pigs

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Abstract:

This study examined the effects of enriching the environment on the learning abilities of growing pigs. Eighty-four pigs were housed in either barren or enriched environments from birth to 14 weeks. The barren environments were defined as intensive housing and the enriched environments incorporated extra space, including areas which contained peat and straw in a rack. The learning abilities of pigs from both environments were tested at 15–17 weeks using an operant task which involved pigs learning to push a panel for a reward and a maze test which involved spatial learning. Pigs from enriched environments learned both the operant task and the maze task more rapidly than their counterparts from barren environments. These results suggest that the cognitive development of pigs may be impaired in intensive housing systems.

Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT; LEARNING; PIGS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2000

ufaw/aw/2000/00000009/00000004/art00003
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