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UK farmers play rock music to help livestock 'chill out'


June 19, 2012 - London

Far from enjoying the quiet countryside, what farmyard animals really want to hear is a good rock song from the likes of Aerosmith and Bon Jovi, a survey has revealed.

The survey that was carried out by RSPCA Freedom Food showed that 77 percent of farmers in the east of England play music or sing to their livestock, tipping Radio 2 as the most popular radio station for their animals, followed by Radio 1.

According to farmers, pigs and cows like hearing music of Adele, Bon Jovi, Coldplay and Eminem.

The farmers have also admitted to singing hymns, rugby songs and piggy nursery rhymes to keep their animals relaxed.

The research found that livestock also enjoyed keeping up to date with the current affairs and sports from Radio Five Live and Radio Four's Today programme.

It follows research from Writtle College in Essex that had found that playing background music can have a positive effect on sows and piglets by increasing suckling and making mothers more playful.

Mark Hayward of Dingley Dell Pork in Woodbridge, Suffolk, has taken the theory one step further and has an own house band the 'Broadside Boys'.

"We often sit on the hay bales, singing and strumming to our Freedom Food pigs and I'm convinced they love it," the Daily Mail quoted Hayward as saying.

"And when the bands not playing we have music on all the time, coming from the tractors or my truck. It's really important to be relaxed and calm around farm animals because they respond to your mood and in turn become more chilled out too.

"Music and also talking to our animals is a key part of that. I chat away to my breeding sows all the time, although the piglets are often too busy to stay still long enough to listen," he said.

The survey found that 59 per cent of farmers talk to their animals with hot topics including the weather and how they were feeling.

"Chatting to farm animals may sound daft but there is a clear welfare message behind Freedom Food's survey," RSPCA farm animal scientist, Dr Marc Cooper, said.

"The farmers said that their animals are more content, relaxed and calm when they interact with them in this way,"

"Like our pets, farm animals are intelligent, sentient beings and respond well to positive interaction, he added.

ANI

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