Do Cows Have Best Friends?
You probably never think much about cows outside their place in the food chain. They give us delicious beef to throw on the grill and milk to pour over our cereal in the morning. But, are they more than that? Are they social? Do they like hanging out with other cows like we enjoy hanging out with other humans? Do they have best cow friends? Before we answer that last question, let's answer a more pressing one first; Why in the world am I even asking?
The answer to that question lies in downtown Evansville, specifically the Main Street Walkway. I was walking down the Walkway earlier this week to grab some lunch when this sign in the window of the Innovation Pointe building at 318 Main Street caught my eye.
To be completely honest, the cow question wasn't the reason I stopped to snap a picture. The reason I stopped was that I had never related to sign so much in my life. "I felt that," as the internet likes to say.
It wasn't until I got back to the office that I started thinking about the bottom half of that sign. I knew they meant it as a joke, but it did pique my curiosity. Do cows have best friends? I had to know, so I did what the sign said and Googled it.
The Answer Is...
Yes. Yes, they do.
There were pages and pages and pages of results, near the top of which was a website called, Barn Sanctuary, which cited a 2011 study done by Krista McLennan of Northampton University in England. In the study, cows were paired up and put in a pen twice for 30 minutes. Once with a cow they were familiar with (one that was already part of the herd, I assume), and once with one they weren't. Their heart rate was measured during both time periods, and when they were with a cow they "knew" (for lack of a better term), their heart rate was lower and therefore less stressed leading McLennan to the conclusion they indeed do have "best friends." You can read more about the study on Barn Sactuary's website.
So, there you have it. Next time you're driving down the road and see a handful of cows gathered around in a field, it's not because they're just a bunch of dumb animals following their natural instinct, they're hanging with the peeps.
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[Source: Barn Sanctuary]