[5 June/The Country]

Scientists said exploring farm animal moods and personalities could help us improve their welfare, as well as the farms they’re found in. AgResearch Scientist, Dr Gosia Zobel, said they couldn’t directly measure how animals were feeling, so there was a need to find indirect measures which was what they were trying to do. Those measures can be used to understand how personality contributes to animal welfare. Their initial testing was with goats and found each goat showed different responses were different in a manner consistent with their personalities. Some goats that had just stood in the rain may be more reluctant to approach a new object. After the results of the goat study are analysed and published, it would offer a stepping stone towards understanding and measuring both personality and mood of individual animals.