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Research areas

1) Human-animal relationship in different animal species focussing on cattle, but also in horses and, in cooperation with the other working groups, companion animals, poultry etc

We work on following topics with interdiciplinary methods, including both sides of the relationship, humans and animals:

  • Causes for differences in human-animal relationships
  • Effects of different human-animal interactions and –relationships on animal welfare and aspects of human well-being
  • Assessment of the human-animal relationship, i.e. development of reliable and valid test and indicators

2) Husbandry, behaviour and welfare of ruminants with focus on cattle and goats the the main topics:

  • Social behaviour and personality of cattle and goats with special emphasis on ontogenetic influences and interactions with environmental factors  (housing, management, human-animal relationship)
  • On farm welfare assessment including develpment of indicators (also in poultry)
  • Innovative, animal welfare friendly and sustainable husbandry systems
  • Alternatives to dehorning of cattle and goats and welfare effects of disbudding

Selected projects

Gentle human interactions and positive emotions in cattle 

Effects of gradual weaning or weaning via nose flap on stress responses of cow and calf in a cow-calf contact system in dairy cows (Dissertation project Anina Vogt, University of Gießen, in cooperation with Thünen Institute of Organic Farming)

Survey on potential reasons for single or group housing of horses including horse and stable owners and horse professionals in Austria and other German-speaking countries