Measuring Farm Animal Emotions—Sensor-Based Approaches

Neethirajan, S.R.; Reimert, I.; Kemp, B.


Understanding animal emotions is a key to unlocking methods for improving animal welfare. Currently there are no ‘benchmarks’ or any scientific assessments available for measuring and quantifying the emotional responses of farm animals. Using sensors to collect biometric data as a means of measuring animal emotions is a topic of growing interest in agricultural technology. Here we reviewed several aspects of the use of sensor-based approaches in monitoring animal emotions, beginning with an introduction on animal emotions. Then we reviewed some of the available technological systems for analyzing animal emotions. These systems include a variety of sensors, the algorithms used to process biometric data taken from these sensors, facial expression, and sound analysis. We conclude that a single emotional expression measurement based on either the facial feature of animals or the physiological functions cannot show accurately the farm animal’s emotional changes, and hence compound expression recognition measurement is required. We propose some novel ways to combine sensor technologies through sensor fusion into efficient systems for monitoring and measuring the animals’ compound expression of emotions. Finally, we explore future perspectives in the field, including challenges and opportunities.