chapter  4
26 Pages

Productivity and Welfare: Animal Behaviour

Early naturalists took it for granted that animals had feelings associated with their behaviour towards offspring and mates, if only for a limited period during the mating season or when their young were relatively helpless. The 18th-century English naturalist Gilbert White was impressed by what he termed the storge () of animals, using the Greek word for the natural affection between parents and children.2 While noting that the behaviour he observed originated in ‘instinct’, he describes the ‘tender attachment’ of a field mouse disturbed with her young, the ‘tender assiduity’ of parent housemartins, the ‘great fury’ of the male mistle-thrush defending his nest, and how every hen who hatched chicks becomes for a while ‘the virago of the yard … and will fly in the face of a dog or sow’ in defence of her brood.2