A major source of anxiety for the cow or the pig is people. Stressed cattle and pigs are more difficult to handle and this puts workers at an increased risk of injury.
Much of an animal’s anxiety comes from how they are handled. Studies have shown cows handled by an aversive handler had reduced milk efficiency compared to cows with gentle handlers.
The changing make-up of the dairy workforce includes many workers with no experience with farm animals and no proper training. Animals learn to recognize individuals and can distinguish between those who treat them gently and those who do not.