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Stress in calves and petting

A kind gesture: caresses also relieve stress in calves

Stress in farm animals is an ever-growing concern for farmers and ranchers around the world.

In addition to ensuring animal welfare, proper stress management can positively impact the quality of meat and dairy products.

A recent American study has shed new light on how to relieve stress in calves: with a simple act of kindness.

Stress in farm animals

Farm animals, including calves, can experience significant levels of stress throughout their lives. This stress can result from a number of factors, including living environment, husbandry conditions, transportation and even culling.

In addition to negatively impacting animal welfare, stress can have consequences for the food industry, affecting the quality of meat and dairy products.

A revolutionary study

A study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis, took an in-depth look at how positive human contact can influence stress in calves. This study was pioneering of its kind as it assessed the potential impact of human interactions on the stress response of farm animals.

Caresses that make the difference

The researchers conducted a series of experiments in which calves were exposed to stressful situations, such as separation from their mothers or transportation. However, in some groups of calves, a key variable has been introduced: human cuddles. These calves received simple caresses from human caregivers during stressful situations.

Surprising results

The results of the study were surprising. Calves that received human cuddles showed a notable reduction in stress compared to their non-cuddled companions. This was evidenced by a significant decrease in levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the animals' blood.

Dear Temple Grandin had seen the long way!

This research reminds us of the importance of animal welfare, a topic that has gained increasing relevance in recent decades thanks to the work of pioneers such as Temple Grandin.

Grandin, a prominent figure in the field of animal welfare, was diagnosed with autism at a young age.

His personal story of struggle and success has been an inspiration to many people and has also been a catalyst for change in the livestock industry.

Temple Grandin has dedicated her life to improving the living conditions of animals in slaughter and breeding facilities, helping to develop innovations and humane methods of animal treatment.

His commitment to understanding animals and promoting more compassionate farming and slaughter practices has had a significant impact on the quality of life of millions of animals around the world. Read his story here .

This recent study, which explores the role of human contact in calves, fits into the broad context of animal welfare and the ongoing quest to improve the conditions of animals in our society.

Implications for the livestock industry

This study paved the way for important considerations in the breeding of meat and dairy animals. It shows how gestures of kindness and positive human contact can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of farmed animals, while reducing stress.

A new approach to breeding

The livestock industry is taking these findings seriously.

Many farmers and ranchers are exploring new ways to interact with their animals to reduce stress and improve the quality of the final products.

This not only benefits animal welfare but can also lead to high-quality meat and dairy products.


The University of California, Davis study represents an important step forward in our approach to raising production animals. It shows that, even in an agricultural context, human kindness and attention can make a big difference.

Breeders and farmers are starting to recognize the importance of creating a positive environment for animals, contributing to their well-being and the quality of the products that end up on our tables.