Ear and tail postures as indicators of emotional valence in sheep

To date, most studies on animal emotions have focused on the assessment of negative emotional states, and there is a lack of approaches to characterising positive emotional states. The aim of this investigation was to measure differences in ear and tail postures in sheep exposed to situations likely to induce states of negative, intermediate and […]

Cognitive sciences to relate ear postures to emotions in sheep

Emotions are now largely recognised as a core element in animal welfare issues. However, convenient indicators to reliably infer emotions are still needed. As such, the availability of behavioural postures analogous to facial expressions in humans would be extremely valuable for animal studies of emotions. The purpose of this paper is to find out stable […]

Animals’ emotions: studies in sheep using appraisal theories

Animal welfare concerns stem from recognition of the fact that animals can experience emotions such as pain or joy. Nevertheless discussion of animal emotions is often considered anthropomorphic, and there is a dear need to use explanatory frameworks to understand animals’ emotions. We borrowed appraisal theories developed in cognitive psychology to study sheep emotions. Emotions […]

Opioid control of behaviour in sheep: Effects of morphine and naloxone on food intake, activity and the affective state

The affective states of animals are important determinants of welfare, yet they are poorly understood. Here we investigate opioid involvement in the regulation of behaviours that may be indicative of the arousal and valence components of affective states in sheep. Ewes treated with sterile water (C), a low or high dose of the opioid agonist […]

Can ear postures reliably measure the positive emotional state of cows?

Animal welfare science is increasingly concerned with the promotion of positive emotions in animals, yet little is known about how to measure them. We examined whether ear postures in dairy cows were reliable indicators of a low arousal, positive emotional state. We conducted a total of 381, 15 min focal observations, across a group of […]

Reactions of sheep towards three sets of emotional stimuli: (In)Consistency in respect to stimulus valence and sheep identity

There is an increasing interest in affective states in applied animal behaviour science, because these states are thought to reflect welfare from the perspective of the animals. Also, it can be expected that individuals differ in how they consistently react to emotional challenges. Recently, we conducted three experiments in which the same sheep were repeatedly […]

Face-based perception of emotions in dairy goats

Faces of conspecifics convey information about identity, but also gaze, and attentional or emotional state. As a cognitive process, face-based emotion recognition can be subject to judgement bias. In this study we investigated whether dairy goats (n = 32) would show different responses to 2-D images of faces of familiar conspecifics displaying positive or negative […]