Canadian research suggests that cows find shouting just as averse as being shocked with an electric prod during handling. Previous studies suggest that averse handling can lower milk production.
The study monitored the speed at which cows moved along a 33-feet pathway, that ended in a chute while receiving the following treatments: tail twisting, hitting, shocked with an electric prod or shouting. The chute was 3.3 feet wide and 6.6 feet tall. According to Ed Pajor, assistant professor at Purdue University and behavior specialist, the longer it takes the animal to travel to the chute, the more adverse they find the treatment.
The results show a significant difference in the time it took cows to walk the 33 feet, when prodded or shouted at, when compared to animals not receiving any treatment. Animals that were shocked took 124 seconds, 53 seconds longer than control cows. Shouting at cows resulted in cows completing the course in 130 seconds.
Bars – Seconds
Control – 71
Twisted tail – 84
Hit – 97
Shock – 124
Shout – 130
Source: “Cow Comfort, Fear and Productivity,” Dairy Housing and Equipment Systems, 2000.