Study finds that cows 'talk' and show empathy just like humans

We often view dogs as the smartest animals that humans have domesticated. They know when we are sad and can almost read our emotions better than we can! There has been some new data, however, that is showing other animals have can understand emotion and have their own forms of communication.

Cows are some of the smartest animals around.

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We don’t often think of cows as the brightest bunch. Maybe we do so in order to not feel as bad for some of the mistreatment of them, but that’s a different subject. Cows are currently being studied and the results are pretty remarkable.

Using moo’s, cows have their own form of communication between them.

Each individual cow has its own vocal aspects making each one of them sound different. In other words, cows have unique voices just like humans! The crazy part is that they are able to change their pitch based on the emotions they are feeling at the moment.

Living in a herd, cows are very social and their voices reflect this.

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Alexandra Green is a Ph.D. student at the University of Sydney and she says:

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

With recent studies, they are confirming that individual voicing is part of a cow’s social identity!

Through their communication, they can signal things to the rest of the herd.

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In the study, the group used 18 Holstein-Friesian heifers to conduct their research. Over five months, they discovered that the cows used their voices to let others know if a situation was positive or negative.

The study showed the four main categories that the cows would communicate in.

The research showed that the cows would express a variety of emotions that boiled down to four mains ones. These emotions were excitement, arousal, engagement, and distress.

“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.”

The research is like a “Google Translate” for cows!

University of Sydney Source: University of Sydney

In a study of baby cows and their mothers, they looked at 33 cows and learned more about their voice and connection to the herd.

“Ali’s research is truly inspired. It is like she is building a Google translate for cows,” said Cameron Clark, an associate professor at the university.

This information can help farmers and people make better decisions for the animals.

If farmers are aware of the emotions of the cow, it can drastically increase well-being for the animals and give a better product in return! Happy cows probably produce better milk, right?

These results also force us to consider the ethics of cow farming.

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With beef production accounting for 37% of methane emission from humans, they are quite a luxury. Aside from environmental aspects, continued learning that the cows are sentient and have emotions and relationships complicates the issue further.

Regardless, being kinder to animals is always better.

We can all take away that animals deserve our respect and care, no matter what. Maybe you could let out your own moo the next time you are around some cows and say hello!

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Source: Power of Positivity, University of Sydney