FARMERS have been told their pigs will no longer be happy in muck - they now need toys to keep them content.

The EU has ruled that farmers have just 90 days to put a toy in all pigstyes or face up to three months in jail.

The ruling states that farmers have to give pigs "environmental enrichment" by providing "manipulate material".

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has interpreted the EU ruling on behalf of farmers and has said they should provide balls for their pigs.

Defra has also suggested that farmers hang chains to give pigs something to rub their noses against.

A Defra spokesman defended the decision to make farmers turn their styes into playpens, saying it was important that animals are kept happy.

He said the ruling was intended to keep the pigs content and stop them attacking and chewing each other.

But pig farmer John Ryder, from Guisborough, a member of the National Pig Foundation, claims UK rules for looking after pigs are already better than elsewhere in Europe.

He said: "It is interesting to note that in the UK, animal pig welfare is 13 years ahead of the rest of Europe.

"We have had far-reaching welfare rules in place since 1999 and the same rules are not being introduced to the rest of Europe until 2012."

Some farmers have been warned they will be stopped from using standard marks on pig products if they do not provide games for their animals.

Any farmer breaching the rules could be fined up to £1,000 or face jail.


1) I Sty

2) Backgammon

3) Squeal of Fortune

4) Piggy in the Middle

5) Stuck in the Mud

6) Monopigly

7) Chops and Robbers

8) Pin the Tail On the Piglet

9) Pig-tionary

10) Sausage-roller bladin