A bleet to the wise is enough

“To be messed up as Hogan’s goat” is just one of the idioms that in many languages describe how humans perceive these animals (unhinched, goofy, uncontrollable…). But what if goats were not as stupid as we think? Especially, emotionally speaking.

Cabra sacando la lengua

We often attribute human-like qualities related to emotions to dogs, cats, and pets in general, but rarely do so with farm animals. This is the case with goats, which, until today, have not aroused human interest regarding their emotional qualities and, therefore, their needs. Scientifics at the Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN) focuses their efforts on learning more about the cognitive aspects of goats, pigs, and other farm animals. Throughout history, scientific interest in these animals had been centered on biological aspects and, above all, in terms of food, while the study of their emotions has had little relevance. Despite goats matching dogs in some aspects of social intelligence, according to the FBN, and pigs showing very high levels of empathy.

Understanding the mental aspects of farm animals can open up many opportunities in the field of bioethics, as well as in other disciplines related to human psychology and the emotional bonds we can develop with other living beings.