How do you make a goat smile? Waikato scientists intend to find out in bid to better understand farm animals

Goats are being put through their paces at AgResearch's Ruakura campus in a bid to find a better way to measure farm animals moods and personalities.

The goats have heartbeat monitors attached, before being put through a series of tests, ranging from a bucket of leaves, to an unexpected shower.

A group of scientists closely watch on, documenting their every move and expression.

"We are looking to address a growing consumer interest in positive animal welfare. People want to know that the... animals have had a good life," one researcher told 1 NEWS.

"We're creating situations that we think will put the goat in a positive state of mind or a negative state of mind, and then we're doing a thing like giving it a choice where it has to turn left or right to get to an object it really desires.

"We think that, that decision will take longer in goats that are in a negative state of mind," said another.

Slow motion and infrared cameras are used to pick up signals otherwise hidden from view. 

"So just a mild little twitch of the lips, or their ears slightly shifting, and that's something that you and I actually do.

"We're starting to be able to pick that up with goats. So the idea is that once we perfect that technology, we might be able to actually to that with other animals as well."

AgResearch scientists are studying goats to find better ways to measure an animal’s happiness. Source: 1 NEWS