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Dogs And Pigs Get Bored, Too: Why Boredom Is An Animal Welfare Issue

Barbara J. King: ‘Far from being a uniquely human emotion, boredom is felt by many animals ranging from farmed pigs to companion dogs that may be left alone at home for long periods. “Chronic boredom is distressing and damaging in humans yet barely studied in animals,” Charlotte C. Burn, a biologist at The Royal Veterinary College of the University of London, notes. Burn explores ways to measure boredom — a key first step to ameliorating it — in different animal species… She claims that if animals — no matter their smartness quotient — are forced to endure boredom for a long time, seriously negative consequences may accrue. According to Marymount University psychologist Stacy Lopresti-Goodman, who has carried out research on trauma in chimpanzees rescued from biomedical laboratories… When environments are extremely restrictive, even sterile, as in some laboratories… the harm may be the greatest. Animals may pull their own hair or bang their heads against their cages: “In nonhuman primates, for example,” she says, “these behaviors have been equated with symptoms of psychopathology, including generalized anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders”.’ SOURCE…

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