New Project Examines Human, Cattle Behavior

( Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health )

In the quest to improve the well-being of cattle worldwide, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health is launching a new research project exploring the behavior of humans.

The animal health company is partnering with Innovia Technology, a human psychological research firm based in Cambridge, England. Together, they hope to gain a deeper understanding of the human behaviors that impact cattle well-being. The project involves gathering information from veterinarians and farmers around the world on farming practices and routine pain management interventions. 

“To be able to improve animal well-being, we first need to understand the needs of the animal, and how they are affected by human behavior,” said Laurent Goby, senior global marketing manager for Boehringer Ingelheim’s ruminant business. “In order to affect change for animals, we ultimately need to understand the behavior of people.”

The project is part of a larger global engagement initiative by Boehringer Ingelheim called “Cattle First.” Through specific projects and case studies, Cattle First aims to work with cattle farmers and veterinarians to best support them and the animals they raise. Among the company’s core beliefs is that understanding and changing the behavior of people is a relatively untapped area of research that offers large potential for improving farm animal well-being.

For the past 12 years, Boehringer Ingelheim also has sponsored and organized the annual Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-being. This event brings together more than 100 industry experts to discuss the latest trends, challenges and opportunities in the industry, while also striving to raise the focus on cattle pain and well-being. 

“This ambitious and innovative new project aims to deliver a set of possible interventions for veterinarians and farmers, staring with the specific area of cattle well-being,” said Goby. “We expect that the work along the way will reveal many interesting and important aspects of pain management in cattle, which may serve as a basis for practical interventions to ultimately improve their well-being.” 

Initial findings of the study pointed to the detection and treatment of pain related to mastitis, respiratory disease and assisted calving as areas of greatest concern. These conditions will be the focus of the next phase of the project. You can learn more about the effort at