Pigs open doors to free companions in a possible show of empathy

Pigs free their comrades from a confined space

Frank Hormann/nordlicht

When a pig is trapped in a separate enclosure from its group, other pigs come to its aid, suggesting they may have empathy for each other.

Researchers have previously found that domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) become stressed when they see others of their kind in a fearful state. Liza Moscovice at the Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology in Dummerstorf, Germany, and her colleagues wanted to test whether the animals would take action to relieve each other’s distress.

They placed groups …

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