Study Finds That Cows Talk And Show Compassion Just Like Humans

A study found that cows communicate with the herd through their moos and express various emotions

Scientists have shown that animals communicate in similar ways to us, and such findings remind us that animals are sentient and intelligent beings that deserve our love, care, and respect.

Yet, with their unique characteristics and nature, animals always find a new way to surprise and amuse us!

One study showed that cows communicate their feelings through their moos!

Namely, cows have individual vocal characteristics, and they change their pitch based on their emotion, according to research at the University of Sydney.

Alexandra Green, a Ph.D. student at the university and the study’s lead author, explained:

 “Cows are gregarious, social animals. In one sense it isn’t surprising they assert their individual identity throughout their life.”

Ms. Green added that this was the first time they’ve been able to study voices to prove this trait.

Over the course of five months, she has studied a herd of 18 Holstein-Friesian heifers, and discovered that the cows gave individual voice cues in different positive and negative situations.

In this way, they communicate, signal things to the herd.

The emotions cows express boiled down to four main ones: excitement, arousal, engagement, and distress.

Ms. Green stated:

“They have all got very distinct voices. Even without looking at them in the herd, I can tell which one is making a noise just based on her voice.”

To analyze the moods of the cows in various situations, she recorded them.

She said:

“It all relates back to their emotions and what they are feeling at the time.”

Previously, researchers have shown that cow moms and babies use their voices to communicate individuality, but this study reveals much more!

It shows the way cows keep their individual moos throughout their lives, and communicate during mating periods, while waiting for or being denied food, and when being kept separate from one another.

The findings of the research, which analyzed 333 cow vocalizations, have been published in Scientific Reports.

Cameron Clark, an associate professor at the university, commented:

“Ali’s research is truly inspired. It is like she is building a Google translate for cows.” 

Ms. Green hopes her study would encourage farmers to “tune into the emotional state of their cattle, improving animal welfare.”



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