Listen to pork. Keen to advance animal welfare, European researchers have developed a tool to decode the emotions pigs express in their various grunts. Spread out to Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, France and the Czech Republic, the biologists studied more than 7,000 recordings of 411 pigs, from short cries of contentment when feeding to desperate cries at slaughter, before categorizing them into 19 different categories.
“We show that it is possible to determine the emotions of pigs by their vocalization.”, explains project manager Elodie Briefer, lecturer at the University of Copenhagen. the study, Published in early March in the magazine temper nature (in English), It offers a new way to improve animal welfare with a tool for classifying emotions through the noise generated, according to the researcher.
“We also use a machine learning algorithm (…) that produces a spectrogram and trains itself to recognize negative and positive contexts”, as you say. Once developed, this new type of monitoring would allow farmers, who only have the tools for physical well-being, to ensure the mental health of their animals. “If the percentage of negative votes increases, the farmer knows that something is likely wrong and can check the pigs.”researcher says.
For the Danish Board of Agriculture – the Scandinavian country is home to 13.2 million pigs, a European record with more than pigs per capita – the implications of the study are promising. “This concept (…) could be a useful tool among others in the work of monitoring the health and welfare of pigs”said Trine Vig, a spokeswoman for the council. It says the study achieved 92% accuracy in determining whether a call was negative or positive, and 82% in rating the actual context in which the votes were made.
According to the study, positive emotions are expressed in short sounds while negative thoughts are often expressed in length. But why dwell on pork instead of veal or rabbit? For the study’s authors, the boar, known for its extremely varied vocalizations and vocalizations, was the ideal stallion. “It is very loud, which makes it easy to study”University confirms. “They make noises all the time. Even in low-intensity situations, they keep vocalizing”.
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