What are Farm Animals Thinking?

David Grimm in Science: You’d never mistake a goat for a dog, but on an unseasonably warm afternoon in early September, I almost do. I’m in a red-brick barn in northern Germany, trying to keep my sanity amid some of the most unholy noises I’ve ever heard. Sixty Nigerian dwarf goats are taking turns crashing their horns against wooden stalls while unleashing a cacophony of bleats, groans, and retching wails that make it nearly impossible to hold a conversation. Then, amid the chaos, something remarkable happens. One of the animals raises her head over her enclosure and gazes pensively at me, her widely spaced eyes and odd, rectangular pupils seeking to make contact—and perhaps even connection.

It’s a look we see in other humans, in our pets, and in our primate relatives. But not in animals raised for food. Or maybe we just haven’t been looking hard enough. That’s the core idea here at the Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN), one of the world’s leading centers for investigating the minds of goats, pigs, and other livestock. More here