veal calves eating roughage

Project

Biomarkers of happiness and stress in dairy cattle

PhD project by Louise Kremer. Animal welfare depends on their emotional experiences. Current methods to assess emotions in cows are still lacking validity. The aim of this project is to find an objective way to assess dairy cows’ emotions.

Animals can feel pain and pleasure and their welfare depends on their emotional experiences. However, current methods to assess emotions in cows are still lacking validity. Therefore WUR researchers and the Dutch Dairy Industry are searching for an objective way to assess dairy cows’ emotions. Positive and negative emotions involve specific changes in physiological and neuroendocrine substances in the body known as biomarkers. Non-invasive measurements of these biomarkers would provide farmers with a practical tool to ensure that their cows are in a positive mood; i.e have a good life.