Stockpersons who have a more positive attitude toward pigs and enjoy their work raise less stressed animals. This in turn improves reproductive performance, according to research by Paul Hemsworth of the Animal Welfare Centre at the Univer-sity of Melbourne and Agriculture Victoria.

Research in the Australian pig industry has shown strong correlations between the attitude and behavior of the stockperson, and the level of fear of humans and reproductive performance of commercial pigs.

For example, the belief that pigs do not require petting, or that considerable verbal and physical force is required to move pigs, were correlated with a high percentage of negative behaviors used in handling pigs. Negative behavior such as kicks, slaps and hits reduced the pigs reproductive performance. Meanwhile, positive behavior, such as pats, strokes and the hand of the stockperson resting on the animal's back, reduced its fear of humans and stress level.

Hemsworth found the proportion of negative interactions, both forceful and mild, by the stockperson determined the pig's fear of humans and thus, their reproductive performance.