Cows Can Be Optimistic or Pessimistic. Here’s Why That Matters.

According to CTV News, research from the University of British Columbia shows that cows are either optimistic or pessimistic, and their outlook affects their ability to cope with stress. PhD student Benjamin Lecorps asserts that the results show similarities between humans and animals and says the study has implications for animal welfare.

Published in Scientific Reports, the study tested how calves who had previously been identified as fearful or sociable, pessimistic or optimistic reacted under stressful situations, such as being transported from one barn to another. Researchers noted that cows identified as pessimistic often showed more signs of stress, such as higher eye temperature and being more vocal, than optimistic cows.

This isn’t the first study to explore the complexity of farmed animals. A study by researchers at the University of Lincoln found that pigs could be optimistic or pessimistic, depending on personality type. A more recent study from Linköping University determined that chickens had a more optimistic outlook when they were well looked after.

Additionally, a 2014 study shows that not only do cows have different types of calls; they have individualized calls for each of their calves. Cows are very social animals, and they form especially strong bonds with their calves. This is just one fact that explains how certain practices in the meat and dairy industries are so cruel. Cows used for dairy are separated from their calves within hours after they’re born so farmers can take the mothers’ milk. Cows often mourn and bellow for days after their babies are stolen.

Cows experience joy, loneliness, frustration, fear, and pain just like the dogs and cats who share our homes.

Sadly, cows have many reasons to be pessimistic, as they suffer throughout their lives at factory farms. Farmed animals endure unspeakable cruelties: mutilations without painkillers, extreme confinement, neglect, and violent deaths.


Thankfully, with a wide variety of delicious plant-based meat and dairy products available, everyone can enjoy their favorite foods without hurting these sensitive animals.

You can help protect all animals by switching to a compassionate vegan diet. Order your FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide today. And check out our Pinterest page for thousands of delicious plant-based recipes!