How can we tell if an animal is depressed?

Professor Mike Mendl is developing new ways of assessing animal welfare that work to improve the wellbeing and conditions of all animals

Dr Andi Horvath

Published 29 May 2019

Episode 55

There’s been a growing shift in animal welfare; an increasing awareness of the mental wellbeing of animals rather than purely their biological functioning – that is, an animal’s physiology, reproduction and injury.

Mike Mendl, professor of Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Bristol University in the UK, is drawing on animal behaviour, human psychology and cognitive neuroscience to improve animal welfare.

“Data from human studies shows that people who are unhappy or depressed tend to be much more pessimistic about the future and they make more careful, cautious decisions about ambiguity,” says Professor Mendl.

Professor Mendl is working develop ways of measuring animal welfare scientifically and with aim of improving the quality or conditions for all animals.

Episode recorded: May 15, 2019.

Interviewer: Dr Andi Horvath.

Producer, audio engineer and editor: Chris Hatzis.

Co-production: Silvi Vann-Wall and Dr Andi Horvath.

Banner image: Getty Images

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