When an arthritic cow named Debbie collapsed at the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary, the remaining herd bellowed until their caretaker arrived. And after Debbie was euthanized and buried, they were right to moo in sorrow and lie down on her grave.
That was right before the entire group disappeared into the Sanctuary’s distance. They didn’t return for two days, sacrificing their daily grain rations. Even the Sanctuary’s co-founder Jenny Brown was amazed at the depth of their grief.
That’s just one of the stories The Inner Life of Farm Animals’ author Amy Hatkoff shares about the time she spent learning about the Sanctuary’s residents.
Their distinct dispositions inspired her to interview a number of sanctuary owners and scientists about the latest findings on farm animals’ emotional and intellectual capacities.
Based on the stories and information they shared, Hatkoff concludes that the farm animals usually destined for our dinner plates are actually sentient beings:
“The findings show that in some areas, farm animals are as smart as or smarter than our beloved dogs and cats. They learn from one another, have excellent memories, and can plan for the future.
Cows, for example, like challenges and get great satisfaction from solving them. Chickens are excellent strategists, and pigs can even be taught to play video games on the computer!”
Given the opportunity to spend as much time with sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, geese, cows and pigs as Hatkoff did, the average person would also recognize their distinct personalities. Farm animals are just as curious, intelligent, pleasure-seeking and wonderful as the most cherished family pets!
A jewel among animal welfare books, The Inner Life of Farm Animals is probably the most delightful I’ve ever read on the topic. Hatkoff’s heartfelt stories and riveting photographs taught me a great deal — and earned it a place of honor on our living room table!