Within two years, 2018 – 2020 1.4 million EU citizens signed a petition to end the caging of farm animals. As a result, the European Parliament initiated a study conducted by Utrecht University researchers to study how to accomplish this goal.
The research included behavioral biologists, animal scientists, veterinarians and ethicists. Their main focus was on laying hens and pigs. However, they will look into other animals such as bovines used for milk and meat. In order to accomplish their goal to eliminate cages, the researchers must find a way to assist farmers in transitioning from traditional animal housing to more humane housing.
I personally hope that they can reach this goal and that it will spread to the rest of the world. When I raised chickens, they were always free-ranged and had a hen house to stay in at night.
Although Dr Alan McElligott is currently based at the University of Roehampton, he led the study at Queen Mary University of London to determine if goats react to human facial expressions. He found that goats would rather interact with people who smile and are happy. The study further showed that goats use the left hemisphere of their brain to react to positive facial expressions.
Anyone who works with goats recognizes that they are very attuned to human body language, but this study shows that goats recognize facial expressions and the emotions that they represent. Past studies have shown that dogs, birds and horses also have this ability.
Goats, horses, birds and dogs represent a wide spectrum of the animal kingdom. It stands to reason that many other animals, both domestic and wild have the same abilities to some degree. The challenge is to devise a way to test a wider range of animals and birds. It is exciting to be able to understand more about the animals that we love and anticipate what future studies will teach us.
Many people have rodents as pets and they can make wonderful pets for people who do not have room for a larger pet or cannot have a dog, cat or bird. However, although it is rare, rat bite fever can be transmitted by pet rodents, either through a bite or scratch. Rats, gerbils, mice, guinea pigs and ferrets are capable of transmitting rat bite fever. Rat bite fever is an old disease that has been recorded for over 2300 years.
Rat bite fever is caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis which is the most common cause. The symptoms include fever, pain in joints, nausea, rash and vomiting and can be fatal if not treated.
Children, pet store workers, veterinary technicians, veterinarians and laboratory technicians are in the higher risk group since they handle rodents on a regular basis. People who frequently handle rodents can wear protective gloves to prevent being bitten. Parents should monitor children who have rodents as pets and if they are bitten or scratched, notify your pediatrician.
Socializing a pet rodent is a precautionary measure that will reduce the chance of being bitten. Rodents can be trained using clicker training methods which will also help to reduce the chances of being bitten by teaching the rodent to come to you.
Always be careful not to frighten or startle a rodent. Avoid trying to handle a rodent that is sleeping. A tap on the cage or talking to the rodent before handling it can calm the rodent and allow the pet to be aware that it is going to be handled. Using common sense will help prevent being bitten and avoid rat bite fever.
Keep in mind that rat bite fever can also be transmitted by wild rodents. If there are wild rodents in your area and they are trapped, use caution in removing them or handling predators that might have caught and killed a rodent.
Recent tests have shown that chickens have individual personalities, can function in a group, can reason by deduction and understand their place in the flock. Not only that, but chickens have a sense of numbers and self-awareness.
It turns out that chicken communication is also much more complex than previously thought, including visual and auditory forms of communication. They are able to make decisions based on what they determine is best for themselves.
The study also showed that chickens experience both negative and positive emotions. Mother hens display maternal feelings for their chicks and influence how the chick behaves.
How interesting chickens are. Many people keep chickens for pets so this study should be of special interest to them. Chickens have been used for years to hone clicker skills for dog trainers and potential dog trainers.
My son Tom and my araucana chickens (many years ago)