A city in central China is advocating a more humane way of killing pigs to improve the taste of the pork, ordering they get up to a day of rest and relaxation before they go to the slaughterhouse.

"After long-distance transport, the rest can help pigs get rid of tiredness," an official at the commerce commission in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, told AFP on Thursday.

"The rest will ensure the pork has the best taste and will prevent water-logged pork entering the market," said the official, who refused to be named.

The rules, posted on the commission's website, stipulate that those who do not implement the rules will be "severely punished".

According to a report in the state-run Shanghai Daily, officials have suggested slaughterhouse employees play music to the pigs and pat them to help them relax before they are killed.