Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Emotions and mood influence animal behaviour, study finds
The study suggests that animals that lose fights are more negative and pessimistic.
Discovery could have practical benefits for animal welfare.

Emotions and mood influence animal behaviour in a similar way to humans, according to new research.

Findings published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. suggest that animals display positive moods when they “win” and negative moods when they “lose”. 

Principal investigator Dr Gareth Arnott from Queens University Belfast, said the discovery could have practical benefits for the future of animal welfare. 

“Good welfare requires animals to have few negative emotions and lots of opportunities for positive experiences, he said. “Understanding animal emotions and why they evolved will, therefore, help us to measure and improve animals' emotional states and welfare.”

Researchers previously investigating animal contests have focused on how animals assess the value of a resource and their opponent’s fighting ability. In this new study, scientists argue that assessments contribute to an animals’ emotional state, and that emotions drive animal behaviour. 

Their paper indicates that, just as depressed or anxious humans are more pessimistic about the future, animals that lose fights are more negative and pessimistic, and are therefore less willing to engage in future fights. 

Lead author Andrew Crump, a postdoctoral researcher from the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s, explained: “Human emotion influences unrelated cognition and behaviour. For example, people rate their overall life satisfaction higher on sunny days than rainy days. 

"We have found that animals’ emotions also influence unrelated cognition and behaviour. For example, animals that won a contest experienced a more positive mood and expected fewer predators in their environment. Similarly, animals that lost a contest experienced negative emotions and took part in less future contests. These carryover effects may lead to maladaptive behaviour."

 

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

New series shares recipes for pet-safe festive treats

News Story 1
 Battersea has launched a new Christmas baking series across all it's social media channels, to teach owners how to make pet-safe treats for dogs and cats.

The two-part series will show dog owners how to make Christmas dog treats using xylitol-free peanut butter and banana. Meanwhile, cat owners will be taught how to use rolled oats and turkey to make a festive snack for their pet.

Battersea also reminds pet owners of the importance of insuring that animals maintain a healthy balanced diet and adds that these food items should only be given as a treat.

To view the series, please visit Battersea's YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Image (c) Battersea. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
APHA confirms eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in England

The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) has identified an eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in poultry in England.

Confirmed on Tuesday (15 December), the outbreak was found in captive birds and poultry at a premises near Willington, South Derbyshire. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been placed around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Further information about the outbreaks and the latest government advice can be found at gov.uk