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Off the Leash Off the Leash

Animals get bored, too, study finds

Scientists believe findings could help animals live more satisfying lives.

By Vetstreet Nov 16, 2012 4:39PM

Researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario,Canada, worked with 29 captive mink in an effort to determine whether caged animals get bored.

Photo: Nick Ridley/Getty ImagesOne group was given nothing to do, while the other group had plenty of things to stimulate them, such as climbing structures and toys. The researchers found that when they were introduced to new things, the animals who lived in the boring cages showed more interest.

Those animals also showed other possible signs of boredom, including snacking when they weren’t hungry and lying around awake.

The researchers believe the findings are a valuable first step in figuring out what can be done to make their lives more satisfying.

"Although we cannot yet determine with certainty whether the subjective experience of the animals is similar to that of humans who self-report feeling bored, their behavior was consistent with that state," they are quoted in a Discovery News report. "Reducing boredom is often a stated aim of enrichment and yet to date we have had no means of judging its success at achieving that aim."

The scientists’ report was published in the online journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Discovery News

Photo: Nick Ridley/Getty Images

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68Comments
Nov 18, 2012 11:40PM
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I remember one long cold winter in SC (as if we really have cold winters) but it was Christmas time  and this very very Lonely baby bison was kinda caged up and obviously getting quite bored with humans staring at him like he was lunch, day in and day out this went on and on .......but beside his pen was this giant and i mean Giant inflatable slide ..and all he could do was listen to all the human children just squeeeeeelllllll as they went down the slide every nite   he knew they were having sooo much fun .....well one night at closing time..the little Baby Bison got out of his cage ...and guess where he went ,   you  guessed it he was only out for about 5 mins and in that short time he had gotten to the stairs of that slide and walked all the way up it standing at the top for about 30 seconds.....my wife and i saw that twinkle in his eye as he went over the edge and slid all the way we were shocked at first and of course worried for him...but before i could get to him he had climbed out and was bounding up those stairs for another run and down he went ...He had a Glorious night that night ..and he gave us a memory of a lifetime..watching him go...we know after the second run he had to be giggling inside...and was definately not bored anymore...THIS IS A TRUE STORY AND LONG  LIVE LAKOTA AT HOLLYWILD

Nov 18, 2012 2:32AM
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Considering that UofG is funded by the Canadian government....are you really suprised by this waste of time, money and resources? Just be aware that the US is moving in the same direction with Obama. I am all for animal welfare but let's spend our stolen money on something worthwhile.
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Animal research that doesn't involve vivisection. Who'd a thunk?
Nov 18, 2012 1:37AM
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Guess Canadians study stupid crap like the USA does.
Nov 18, 2012 1:37AM
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My dog(s) were discussing this very thing with me and another thing alot of humans are not aware of: My dog(s) were telling me how glad they were to be American dogs. I had never thought about it either until then, anyway one dog was telling me about seeing an abcd(I wont say which country) dog on tv. and he was thinking "Damn I'm glad I'm an American dog, those dogs have never heard of Alpo, will never have a chew toy,bla bla bla, I never had thought about it.
Nov 18, 2012 1:01AM
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