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Fry the Bacon, Not the Pig

Cloned Pigs Not Well

If your pigs are just lying around, perhaps wallowing in their urine and looking thin, crank up the air conditioning.

That's the advice of researcher Thuy Huynh at Wageningen University in The Netherlands.

Huynh found that when the thermometer hits 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 Celsius), swine become real pigs, lying on the floor even if they just used it as a toilet.

Here's what turns the place into such a pigsty:

You've heard the term "sweat like a pig." Thing is, pigs don't sweat. They have no sweat glands. Instead, all they can do is pant. That's why they like to roll in the mud. Couple this with the fact that they're being purposely fattened and are packed tightly with a bunch of, well, pigs, and a hot day turns miserable.

As temperatures rise, pigs simply lose their appetites. Which, for the pig farmer, means less weight at market.

"Providing the pig house with extra cooling in addition to the standard ventilation decreases the heat stress experienced by the pigs," Huynh and colleagues conclude in a new study. "Cooling the floor of the lying area, providing a water bath to bathe in, or regularly spraying water from a sprinkling installation cools down the overheated pigs."

Chill those pigs, Huynh says, and they'll become fatter. Pass the bacon, please.

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Robert Roy Britt
Rob was a writer and editor at Space.com starting in 1999. He served as managing editor of Live Science at its launch in 2004. He is now Chief Content Officer overseeing media properties for the sites’ parent company, Purch. Prior to joining the company, Rob was an editor at The Star-Ledger in New Jersey, and in 1998 he was founder and editor of the science news website ExploreZone. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.