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Researching Human-Cattle Interaction on Rangelands: Challenges and Potential Solutions

By M. Creamer, K. Horback

Category Journal Articles

Human-animal interaction (HAI) research spans across many scientific fields and animal taxa. For livestock species, HAI research tends to focus on animals that are managed in close proximity with humans such as poultry, dairy cattle, and swine. Given the nature of rangeland cattle production, HAI research with beef cattle often occurs in and around the processing environment. This high arousal context may skew behavioral and physiological responses by the animals due to the potentially negative interaction. The aim of this review is to describe cattle production on rangelands, examine the considerations and limitations of current HAI research used to evaluate interaction quality or traits of rangeland cattle, identify contexts in which rangeland cattle interact with humans, and provide recommendations for improving future HAI research with rangeland cattle. Current research delineating individual differences in response to humans by beef cattle occur during routine husbandry and management on rangelands (pragmatic) and in a research context (experimental). Human-cattle interactions can be distinguished based on the quality and goal of the interaction into four broad categories: human presence, human approach, human contact, and restraint. Limitations of HAI research with rangeland cattle are identified and reconciled by recommendations for HAI research that can take place outside of the processing environment (i.e., while cattle are ruminating, resting or grazing on rangelands).

Date 2021
Publication Title Animals (Basel)
Volume 11
Issue 3
Pages 18
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615 (Print)2076-2615
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ani11030725
Language English
Author Address Animal Behavior and Cognition Laboratory, Department of Animal Science, University of California-Davis, One Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal personality
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Cattle
  4. Human-animal interactions
  5. open access
  6. rangelands
  1. open access