Saturday, 3 June 2017

Baa-humbug! Scientists develop face test for sad sheep

LONDON -- They may look placid while grazing in fields but sheep's faces can tell us a lot, according to scientists in Britain who have developed a new system to work out if sheep are in pain or just feeling sad.

The test is based on 500 photos of sheep collected by veterinarians and used to design an algorithm by researchers at Cambridge University that measures five key markers of ovine facial expressions.

When sheep are in pain their eyes narrow, their cheeks tighten, their ears fold forwards, their lips pull down and back and their nostrils change from a U shape to a V shape, according to the scientists.

They now hope to extend the test to other species, including horses, rabbits and some rodents.

By installing cameras in sheep pens, the scientists hope the test will help farmers spot injuries or illnesses early on and find treatment.-read more

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