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Goats ‘can detect emotions’ in calls from other goats
This provides the first strong evidence that goats can distinguish between calls based on emotion.
Study sheds light on social communication of emotions 

Goats may be able to distinguish between positive and negative calls from other goats, scientists say.

An international study led by the Queen Mary University of London measured behavioural and physiological changes to find out if they can tell the difference between calls linked to positive emotions.

Scientists recorded goat calls associated with positive and negative emotions, then played them to other goats through a loud speaker, followed by a randomly selected final call.

According to the findings, when the emotion of the call changed, so did the likelihood of goats looking towards the source of the sound. The goats’ heart rate variability was also greater when they heard positive sounds, compared to negative.

This provides the first strong evidence that goats can distinguish between calls based on emotion, and that their own emotions may be affected. Such an ability could offer an evolutionary advantage among groups of animals that are not always in contact with each other, facilitating better coordination and cohesion in the group.

Lead author Dr Alan McElligott said: “Perceiving the emotional state of another individual through its vocalisations and being affected by those vocalisations has important implications for how we care for domestic animals, and in particular livestock species.”

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AWF Student Grant open for submissions

News Story 1
 Applications are open for the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) Student Grant Scheme for innovative research projects designed to impact animal welfare.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students of veterinary science, veterinary nursing, agriculture studies and animal welfare are invited to submit their proposals to undertake research projects next year.

Grants are decided based on the project’s innovation, relevance to topical animal welfare issues and ability to contribute towards raising animal welfare standards. For more information visit animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk.  

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SPANA film highlights plight of working animals overseas

Animal welfare charity SPANA (The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) has teamed up with Brian Blessed and other famous voices to highlight the plight of working animals overseas.

In a new animated film, the celebrities raise awareness by showing the solidarity of the UK's own working animals on strike. A sniffer dog (Brian Blessed), police horse (Peter Egan) and sheepdog (Deborah Meaden) are shown ignoring their duties and protesting in solidarity with animals in developing countries.

SPANA chef executive Geoffrey Dennis said: "We are so grateful to Deborah, Peter and Brian for lending their voices to our new film, and for speaking up for millions of working animals overseas. SPANA believes that a life of work should not mean a life of suffering, and it is only thanks to people’s generosity and support that we can continue our vital work improving the lives of these animals."