Sunday, February 27, 2005


The secret of cows,,2087-1502933,00.html

Scientists have discovered that cows can make friends and become excited over intellectual challenges.

Cows are capable of feeling pain, fear and even anxiety. They worry about the future.

If farmers provide good conditions, cows can feel great happiness.

The findings are from studies of farm animals that have found similar traits in pigs, goats, chickens and other livestock.

Christine Nicol, professor of animal welfare at Bristol University, said: “Remarkable cognitive abilities and cultural innovations have been revealed. Our challenge is to teach others that every animal we intend to eat or use is a complex individual, and to adjust our farming culture accordingly.”

John Webster, professor of animal husbandry at Bristol, has just published a book, Animal Welfare: Limping Towards Eden. “People have assumed that intelligence is linked to the ability to suffer and that because animals have smaller brains they suffer less than humans. That is a pathetic piece of logic,” he said.

“Cows look calm, but really they are gay nymphomaniacs,” said Walters.

Studies have shown how sheep can form strong affections for particular humans, becoming depressed by long separations and greeting them enthusiastically even after three years.

“Sentient animals have the capacity to experience pleasure and are motivated to seek it,” said Webster. “You only have to watch how cows and lambs both seek and enjoy pleasure when they lie with their heads raised to the sun on a perfect English summer’s day. Just like humans.”

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