Chickens capable of empathy


14/03/2011

The study found that domestic hens show signs of compassion, the ability to "feel the pain of another." This discovery is important for the care of farm and laboratory animals.

For a long time it was thought that empathy - an exclusive feature of a person when one person takes care of the emotional state of another.

Feelings "reflected" in the browser, which leads to a mutual feeling of happiness, sadness or anxiety.

The study found that hens have a fundamental capacity for compassion, at least with respect to their own chickens.

Scientists chose hens and chicks, as it is believed that empathy appeared as an aid in parental care.

Experiments were performed in which the chicks and their mothers ruffling feathers blowing air.

When the chicks blew air they showed signs of anxiety, which immediately affected their moms. Do hens increased heart rate, lowers the temperature of eyes - a sign of stress and they are becoming more and more alarming. They paid less attention to their plumage and often cackled toward their young.

Researcher Jo Edgar University of Bristol, said: "The level of anxiety about the welfare of other animals, it is an extremely important indicator of the well-being of farm and laboratory animals."

"Our research has answered the fundamental question of the ability of birds to show compassion."

"We found that adult female birds possess at least one essential attribute of ’sympathy’, the ability to be split feelings of others and to change under the influence of the emotional state of another."

The results of the study were published in the journal Proceedings.

For commercial breeding chickens regularly see other birds, experiencing pain and anxiety, whether in the course of routine agricultural procedures or because of the prevalence of health problems, such as broken bones or leg problems, "- said the researchers.

Research Funds have been allocated Organization Biotechnology and Biological Research Council.

According to the materials Greenrussia


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