Cows use their voice to keep contact with their herd and express emotions including arousal, excitement and distress. Each animal keeps their moo throughout their life and will moo when waiting for food or when moved from the group.
Alexandra Green, lead author of the study, said she hopes the study improves animal welfare. Commenting on the study, she shared, “Cows are gregarious, social animals. In one sense it isn’t surprising they assert their individual identity throughout their life. This is the first time we have been able to analyse voice to have conclusive evidence of this trait. They have all got very distinct voices. Even without looking at them in the herd, I can tell which one is making a noise just based on her voice. It all relates back to their emotions and what they are feeling at the time.”
Green would record and analyze each cow’s moo to gather data and develop her findings. A professor at the university and Green’s supervisor compared Green’s work to “building a Google translate for cows.”
See more about Alexandra Green’s work in this video: