Porkers in the shower bring home the bacon

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The Independent Online
The perfect present is here for the pig who has everything: the snout- operated ensuite shower. The Pig Cooler is being offered to British farmers to keep hot and bothered pigs in the pink.

Warm weather is anathema to pigs. It reduces the sperm count in boars, causes stress to sows and makes all pigs feel unlike pigging out. Keeping our porcine friends cool is essential for farmers; it not only makes for a better-tempered kind of pig, but a nicer tasting one too.

The Pig Cooler is a stainless steel box containing a sprinkler attached to the sty wall. All the pig has to do is nudge it with its snout and a cool jet of water drenches it.

"Pigs are very similar to humans in that during the hot summer months they lose their appetite and become bad-tempered in the heat," said Mr Mark Harding, who has spent over a year developing the new Pig Cooler. "This is made worse by the fact that pigs can't sweat and have to rely on respiration and evaporation to lose heat.

"An unhappy pig, which won't breed or eat the optimum amount of food that is required for it to grow, can be a major financial setback for the farmer."

Research carried out by manufacturers Quality Equipment showed that less than 15 per cent of pig farmers have a dedicated water-cooling system, and those who do rely on a "centralised" pipe-work system that creates a mist of water, often increasing humidity levels in indoor pens.

"Many existing systems operate on a timer, spraying the pig in water when they may not want to cool down, which can irritate them further," said Mr Harding. "However, this device gives the pig control over their own environment."

Suffolk farmer Philip Greenacre, for one, is delighted: "After all, a happy pig at the end of the day is going to make me more money."