PIG KERPLUNK and a popcorn-dispensing piñata were among a collection of unique objects created for an event at a Scotland’s Rural College research farm which explored how pigs like to play.

Working with SRUC animal behaviour specialists, Edinburgh College of Art lecturer Andrea Roe and Leverhulme Early Career Fellow Cath Keay created eight sculptural objects that they hoped would appeal to both humans and pigs.

The artists chose materials that would invite the pigs to play and encourage the animals to smell, tear apart and eat the objects, drawing on the work of Professor Alistair Lawrence, chair of Animal Behaviour and Welfare at SRUC and The Roslin Institute, which looks at how enrichments encouraging ‘positive’ behaviour, such as play, can contribute to welfare in farmed animals.

Prof Lawrence said: “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 animal welfare standards reflects that positive welfare is now an active topic of discussion on the world stage.”

Ms Roe said: “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.”

A ten-minute film of the pigs interacting with the play objects is now on exhibition at The Roslin Institute.

Visitors to the Roslin Institute can view the video and associated write-ups in the reception area until the end of June.