Here’s what you’ve been waiting for—the answers to our “What Do You Really Know About Sheep?” Quiz! See how you fared by comparing your answers to the ones below:
- Sheep follow the flock—sometimes to their deaths—for no good reason. False! Sheep stay with the flock for a very good reason: They have no individual defense mechanisms. They can’t bite, scratch, or run fast, so their only safety is in numbers. Becoming separated from the herd makes a sheep an easy target for predators!
- Sheep just do what they’ve always done; they don’t learn new things. False! Sheep can solve problems and learn new things—they just need the right motivation. Individual sheep can figure out how to navigate mazes in order to get back to the safety of the flock. They can even accurately self-medicate for illnesses by choosing the right compounds to eat.
- Sheep can’t tell each other apart. False! Sheep can recognize and remember the individual faces of 50 other sheep (and 10 humans) for up to two years!
- Sheep have few emotions. False! Sheep have been shown to experience grief, fear, attachment, and the physiological equivalent of human love. They are, in fact, emotional animals.
- Sheep know what we are feeling and can care about us. True! Sheep can distinguish between smiling and frowning human faces, and they vastly prefer human smiles to frowns. In a study where sheep pressed panels to indicate their preference, they chose smiling faces 80 percent of the time!
- Sheep can withstand pain more easily than we can. False! John Webster, a world authority on pain, says that there is clear physiological evidence that the intensity of pain sensations in sheep is similar to that in humans. Sheep cry out in pain less often than some animals, such as dogs and cats, but that’s not because they feel pain any less acutely.
And there you have it! If sheep are so much like us, how is it ever acceptable to cut chunks of flesh from lambs’ backsides with shears, break families apart and send them to the Middle East on “death ships,” or even put lamb chops on the grill?
Posted by Jason Baker