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Who has not flung open wide the bedroom windows on a glorious English country morning in July and inhaled deeply of that intricate Proustian cocktail of dewsoaked grass, ripening corn, tractor oil and pig? Well, prepare to breathe your last of it: American scientists have discovered a way to stop pigs smelling; aided by a diet of soya bean and yucca plant, and a dedicated band of volunteer sniffers of the before and after, they have managed a startling reduction in the nitrogen content of porcine overmatter.

Who has not flung open wide the bedroom windows on a glorious English country morning in July and inhaled deeply of that intricate Proustian cocktail of dewsoaked grass, ripening corn, tractor oil and pig? Well, prepare to breathe your last of it: American scientists have discovered a way to stop pigs smelling; aided by a diet of soya bean and yucca plant, and a dedicated band of volunteer sniffers of the before and after, they have managed a startling reduction in the nitrogen content of porcine overmatter.

We are not altogether convinced that this is an advance we should welcome. It smacks to us of part of that blanding process, led by the invasion of rus by urbs, that seeks to muffle the bells, gag the cows, throttle the cock and keep the roads free of that dreadful tractor mud that keeps splashing the Shogun. The noise, my dear, and the smell!

No, we're sorry, pigs smell. Smell is the very essence of pig. Smell comes with pig territory. The sty is not a boudoir. We say: enough! Besides, an odourless pig would rob us of one of our favourite jokes: how do you make a pig stop smelling? Give it a cold.

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