Breed cows for temperament?

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Everyone knows that cows have their own personalities and temperament. There are “boss” cows and then there are the more timid ones.

A Dutch researcher has come up with objective evidence.

He charted the cows’ physiological response when confronted with an unfamiliar object. In one experiment, cows were placed in an empty room and confronted with a Jerry can brought in by a pulley. Some cows made contact with the Jerry can after just a few seconds, while others didn’t dare to approach it at all during the 10-minute test, according to this story last Friday in Science Daily.

What the researcher, Kees van Reenen goes on to suggest is noteworthy: Maybe temperament could be bred as a selective trait to produce robust dairy cows, similar to the way animals are selected for productive life, feet and legs, and low susceptibility to mastitis.


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Tami Radney DVM    
Nebraska, USA  |  March, 26, 2012 at 09:21 AM

Seriously??? Someone got paid to research this?? And you think it is a truly noteworthy idea?? Tempermant has been bred for in generations of horses; dogs; there are breeds of chickens that are more tractable than others..the only novel part of it that I see is that it would take so long for someone in academia to decide that maybe kind cows would be a good thing.

pa  |  March, 26, 2012 at 10:59 AM

beef breeds have been putting together temperment scores for a number of years so this isn't much of a newsflash. Can't see how it matters much when far too many of us never even touch our own cows anymore. Glad our ladies still have names and we know what they're like without having a researcher explain it to us.

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