Study Finds Captive Animals Require Stimulation

A new study from the University of Guelph reveals the importance of activity and mental stimulation to animals in captivity.


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A recent study out of the University of Guelph’s Department of Animal and Poultry Science reveals insight into the basic activity needs of captive animals. The study’s researchers observed two groups of captive mink—the first group being held in cramped, empty cages, and the second in what the group dubbed “enriched” cages with access to water for wading, tunnels, and objects to play and interact with. The mink in the enriched environment exhibited “lower levels of psychological stress” compared to the mink in the barren environment, which were “avidly seek[ing] stimulation.” The study parallels the everyday experiences of many factory-farmed animals, including pregnant sows confined to gestation crates, which make it impossible for many to even turn around or lie down, let alone engage in natural behaviors.