Animal intelligence: livestocks are not stupid!

Animal intelligence exists!

The recent discoveries and the research these last years have changed the way we understand animal intelligence. Animals understand, they remember, they experience emotions and express them. This is what we now call animal intelligence!

Animal intelligence has long aroused human curiosity. Indeed, their ability to cope with various situations, their adaptability, their empathic behaviour and their ability to live together in a common environment are constantly evolving.

Farm animals, with their cognitive abilities, are able to communicate with humans through their behaviour! But it is not always easy for humans to understand this behaviour because we do not have the same language or the same behavioural codes.

It is therefore important to learn to decipher the language of animals by being attentive to the individual behaviour of each animal to enable them to express their full potential.

animal intelligence

Animal intelligence forgotten by livestock farming

Discomfort and loss of performance

The conditions of modern animal husbandry cause discomfort to the animals, which react with their emotions: fear, anger, disgust, excitement… The animals are left to their own devices with these emotions, which they are no longer able to manage after a while! This is the flip side of animal intelligence. All these emotions that overwhelm them will gradually create stress that will result in abnormal behaviour.

Long-term exposure to stress is particularly harmful to animals. It can lead to developmental problems, health problems such as digestive problems, reduced fertility, heart disease, reduced immunity to infection and even death.

With this discomfort taking over, farm animals are no longer able to exploit their natural abilities. Understanding what they are expressing can help us to put in place appropriate measures for their welfare.


Frustration of natural behaviour

Farm animals experience and display frustration when they are prevented from expressing their natural behaviour. Animal intelligence allows them to communicate their discomfort by adopting abnormal behaviour! As with humans, stressed animals will initially start to feed less or not at all. They will become weaker and start to show health problems. Some will even let themselves die.

While some behaviours are applicable to all species (confrontations to establish a hierarchy), some are specific to each species:

  • Stressed poultry will bite and scratch
  • the pigs will bite off the tails and ears
  • ruminants will fight


Today’s challenge and for the coming years is to successfully apply our latest knowledge of animal intelligence, protecting the physical and psychological well-being of the billions of animals we breed around the world to allow them to express their full genetic potential.


Unlocking potential through well-being

Farmed animals are capable of remembering, they can show great sensitivity and experience emotions, this is “animal intelligence”. Avoiding discomfort allows them to express their full potential.

To avoid catastrophic situations for both animals and farms, it is essential to protect the physical and psychological well-being of farm animals. By promoting welfare, we enable animals to manage their emotions and thus their stress, allowing them to return to normal behaviour and to express their abilities more fully.


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