Why should we talk kindly to animals

Wild horses, domestic horses, and pigs can hear the difference between passive and positive sounds when they listen to certain sounds, but they also hear the difference when we talk to them.

The thought of a horse whispering or chatting with pigs would probably make most people laugh a little. But new research from the University of Copenhagen will show that this isn’t crazy.

They played audio recordings of both horses, wild and domestic pigs of their own species, and a human. They also looked at whether they reacted differently to positive and negative sounds. To make sure the animals didn’t respond to the words they learned in human speech, they used nonsensical language. Then they studied their behaviour, from the slightest movement of the ear to body position and vocalizations.

All animals, with the exception of wild boars, showed a difference in response. They responded faster and more intensely to negative sounds and at times seemed to reflect feelings. According to the researchers, our voice has a direct impact on the emotional life of these animals and we should pay more attention to this.

Read more: The issue of talking politely with animals

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Megan Vasquez

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