Marino, L., & Allen, K. (2017). The psychology of cows. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 4(4), 474-498. https://dx.doi.org/10.26451/abc.04.04.06.2017
Domestic cows (Bos taurus) are consumed worldwide as beef and veal, kept as dairy product producers, employed as draft animals in labor, and are used for a long list of other products, including leather and manure. But despite global reliance on cows for thousands of years, most people’s perception of them is as plodding herd animals with little individual personality and very simple social relationships or preferences. Yet, a review of the scientific literature on cow behavior points to more complex cognitive, emotional and social characteristics. Moreover, when cow behavior is addressed, it is almost entirely done within the framework of and applied to their use as food commodities. Therefore, there is relatively little attention to the study of cow intelligence, personality and sociality at a basic comparative level. In this review, we examine the current state of scientific knowledge about cows within an objective comparative framework, describing their cognitive, emotional, and social characteristics. Our aim is to provide a more veridical and objective current summary of cow psychology on its own terms and in ways which will facilitate better-informed comparisons with other animals. Moreover, an understanding of the capabilities and characteristics of domestic cows will, it is hoped, advance our understanding of who they are as individuals.
Cow, Bos taurus, Cattle, Cognition, Intelligence, Emotions, Personality, Social