Pigs suffer terrible stress if patted and hate being touched by gloved hands, according to a research team which has spent five years studying the animals. ``Farmers just do not realize that some of their behavior has such severe consequences on the productivity and the welfare of the pig,'' said Dr. Paul Hemsworth, leader of the Australian research project. ``Our findings have enormous implications for the pig industry.''
The scientists found that farmers standing upright near a pig, trying to approach a pig, patting a pig, and wearing gloves cause chronic stress.
``We hope to eventually provide a farmer with recommendations on the sort of stockpersons he should employ to get on with his pigs,'' Dr. Hemsworth said.