Reduced eye white in cattle a sign of positive affect?

3 05 2015

A paper called “Measuring positive emotions in cows: Do visible eye whites tell us anything?” just came out in Physiology and Behaviour (highlights below).

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I’ve  been interested in eye white (aka ‘googly eyes’) since spending time in Norway when Agnethe Sandem was finishing up her PhD validating this as a dairy cow welfare indicator.Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 9.35.34 AM

After that I was involved in a Masters project correlating eyewhite exposure with other measures of temperament in beef cattle (published in JAS). The findings all link up nicely with Adam Anderson’s lovely work on the functions of fear faces. So, cool to see more work on this.

Unfortunately the authors managed to get 242 degrees of freedom from 13 cows, so I don’t actually believe their results : (