Our research exploring the moods and personalities of farm animals is being seen as an opportunity to better understand and enhance their welfare. This study looks at how animals respond in new and different situations and is helping expand the knowledge of livestock behaviour, at a time of growing consumer demand for strong welfare standards.
The work is being supported by DairyNZ as part of its ongoing focus on enhancing animal care for cows. Because we cannot directly measure how individual animals are feeling, we need to find indirect measures. Once we have those measures, we can use them to better understand how personality also contributes to an animal’s welfare. It is important that these measures can distinguish between different personalities in a range of situations, where animals are feeling either positive or negative.