Smiley faces make dead animals so much tastier

World

Smiley faces make dead animals so much tastier

Farm animals react well to positive human interaction just before their trip to the slaughterhouse, a study has revealed

Henry Bodkin

Farmers should try to look happy around their livestock to make sure the meat tastes better after slaughter, a new study suggests.
Research into goats has revealed for the first time that non-domesticated farmyard animals can recognise human emotions and respond accordingly.
A team at Queen Mary University of London used black-and-white pictures of humans with either a happy or sad face, noticing greater interaction among the goats after they had seen happy faces.While the ability to recognise emotion is already known about in species with a long history of human interaction, such as dogs and horses, the new study provides the first evidence that the trait exists more broadly.
Farmers and those in the meat production industry know the welfare of animals plays a big role in determining the quality of the meat, and they invest considerable effort in ensuring livestock arrive at the slaughterhouse in a calm and happy state.
Dr Alan McElligott, who led the research published in the Royal Society Open Science, said: “The study has important implications for how we interact with livestock and other species because the abilities of animals to perceive human emotions might be widespread and not just limited to pets.”The study, which was carried out at Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in Kent, involved the researchers showing goats pairs of unfamiliar greyscale static human faces of the same individual showing happy and angry facial expressions.
The team found that images of happy faces elicited greater interaction in the goats, which approached the images and explored them with their snouts. This was particularly the case when the happy faces were positioned on the right of the test arena, suggesting that goats use the left hemisphere of their brains to process positive emotion.
— © The Daily Telegraph

This article is reserved for Times Select subscribers.
A subscription gives you full digital access to all Times Select content.

Times Select

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems?
Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.