Friday, March 04, 2005

The Emotional Lives of Farm Animals

"Cows are also capable of feeling strong emotions such as pain, fear and even anxiety — they worry about the future. But if farmers provide the right conditions, they can also feel great happiness.

The findings have emerged from studies of farm animals that have found similar traits in pigs, goats, chickens and other livestock. They suggest that such animals may be so emotionally similar to humans that welfare laws need to be rethought."

-Jonathan Leake. Times Online, February 27, 2005
This Times Online article shouldn't come as a surprise...yet it will.

Many otherwise thoughtful people dismiss the suggestion that a cow or goat might have a rather complex emotional life. I am frequently frustrated by the flaunted ignorance of so many animal rights activists, but the stubborn denial from the "other side" is no less discouraging.

Photo credit: Animal Sciences Group, 2003

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