Zoocentric design: pigs, products, prototypes and performances

Seaton Baxter, Fraser Bruce

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    This paper is concerned with how we apply design to our association with other non-human animals. It exemplifies this with the domestication and current use of the pig (Sus domesticus). After a brief review of the process of domestication, the paper looks at modern production and the increase in concerns for animal health, welfare and performance and the link to food for human consumption. The paper elaborates on the extreme nature of intensive pig production systems and the role that design plays in their operations. It points out the prototypical nature of the modern pigs' evolution and the means by which man contributes his own prototypes to these changes. It pays some attention to the often conflicting concerns of efficient production and animal welfare. It exemplifies this in a brief study of 2 design products - floor systems and feeding systems, and through the use of a Holmesian type puzzle, shows the complex interrelationships of the two products. The paper emphasises the need for designers to avoid extreme anthropomorphism, adopt whenever possible a zoocentric and salutogenic (health oriented) approach and remain fully aware that all technical decisions are also likely to be ethical decisions. The paper concludes with some suggestions of what might be incorporated into the curriculum of product design courses.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of E&PDE 2013, the 15th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
    Subtitle of host publicationDesign Education - Growing Our Future
    EditorsErik Bohemia, William Ion, Ahmed Kovacevic, John Lawlor, Mark McGrath, Chris McMahon, Brian Parkinson, Ger Reilly, Michael Ring, Robert Simpson , David Tormey
    Place of PublicationGlasgow
    PublisherThe Design Society
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Print)9781904670421
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    Event15th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education: Design Education - Growing Our Future - Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland
    Duration: 5 Sept 20136 Sept 2013


    Conference15th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education: Design Education - Growing Our Future
    Abbreviated titleE&PDE 2013
    Internet address


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