Cordy Cox doesn’t need a fancy scientific report to tell her cows have personalities, but a university professor from Vancouver went ahead and did just that.

Marina von Keyserlingk’s article called “Pessimism and Fearfulness in Dairy Calves”was published last month in Scientific Reports, confirming what Cox, a rancher and president of the Cariboo Cattleman’s Association, has known for years.

“You can see a full range of personalities just like you’d expect in people,” said Cox.

Personality-testing game

But von  Keyserlingk, a University of British Columbia specialist in animal welfare, wanted to prove what cattle ranchers like Cox have been thinking. Along with PhD student Benjamin Lecorps, she set up a game to test calves’ tendencies to be brave, or, let’s face it, cowed.

They created a wooden wall with a range of holes in it, then they put nipples in the holes to attract the calves. On the one side, the calves would get a reward of milk when a nipple appeared. On the other side, they got a puff of air in their face to discourage them.

Researchers then placed the nipples in holes where it wasn’t clear to the calves if they would get a reward or the puff of air. That’s when different personalities were revealed.

Von Keyserlingk said some calves wouldn’t risk it whereas others were a little more gutsy.

“The videos are great — you can see them and they go ‘hmmm, I’m going to take a chance’ and so we had huge variation in this,” she said.

The researchers compared this to another measurement of the calves’ personality where they were shown unfamiliar people or things. Researchers measured the time it took for the animal to check out the novelty.

They found braver calves were also more likely to go for a nipple when they weren’t sure whether they would get a reward.

Von Keyserlingk says the findings could have applications in improving animal welfare: pessimistic calves will thrive in predictable surroundings, optimistic animals benefit from more rewards.

She plans to look at animals as they age to see if personality traits remain the same over time.

Fonte: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/calves-personality-ubc-1.4542508?cmp=rss

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​Os textos, informações e opiniões publicados neste espaço são de total responsabilidade do(a) autor(a). Logo, não correspondem, necessariamente, ao ponto de vista do Central da Pauta.