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Sentient Sheep: Page Two

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Sentient Sheep Page One

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More photographs and quotations concerning the sentience of sheep

In nine years of learning the Way of the Sheep, I have discovered that the flock is a powerful social unit rather than a bunch of mindless followers. Many people regard the manner in which sheep run together like fish in a school when there is unexpected movement in the pasture as hysterical overreaction, but when you know that sheep have no defense against predators except escape and safety in numbers, their response makes sense. Humans don’t tend to appreciate a “flock mentality,” but the truth is that we would probably be doing better as a species if we were as connected to each other as sheep are.

Disparaging sheep’s behavior as mindless reflects human ambivalence about being part of a group, as well as not considering the nature of the species and the importance of the flock. I have seen many instances of the members of the flock watching out for each other and accommodating a member who is hurt or ill. Rather than denigrating the flock for moving as one, shouldn’t we be in awe of how attuned sheep are to each other to be able to do that? Certainly, we have a lot to learn from their communication and cooperation with each other. Let us honor the sheep and look to them to help us be better people

Stephanie Marohn : About farm Animals The way of the sheep *1)

This friendly ram came right up to the fence and allowed us to stroke him, he was as curious about us we were about him. He lives way out in an isolated part of the Pennines in country Durham, off the beaten track so I would imagine he saw few people.

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Keith Kendrick a behavioural scientist referring to sheep's memories states:
"It is a very sophisticated memory system. They are showing similar abilities in many ways to humans "

It has been demonstrated that sheep can recognise up to fifty faces even in profile, for as long as two years, a sure indication of intelligence. Concerning this ability in sheep Dr kendrick Says

"If they can do that with faces, the implication is that they have to have reasonable intelligence, otherwise what is the point of having a system for remembering faces and not remembering anything else,"

For further information concerning the sentience of sheep in including  Dr Kendrick's study of sheep click Sentient Sheep

This very intelligent sheep so obviously sentient recognised us after a period of six months and followed us around as she remembered that we used to bring food to feed her.

We have since found out that it is not good for sheep to feed them food such as bread, cakes and similar items as it can give them diarrhoea.

The whole flock used to respond the moment they heard the rustle of the plastic carrier bag in which we used to bring them bread.

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The way the sheep's brain is organised suggests they must have some kind of emotional response to what they see in the world,"
Dr Keith Kendrick

This Wiltshire ram is very friendly, he is used to people and has lost his timidity and readily approaches


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Henry Moore, Sculptor and artist whose representations of sheep are among the most popular of his works, often sketched sheep as they grazed in the fields surrounding his Hertfordshire studios. He wrote:

... I began to realise that underneath all that wool was a body, which moved in its own way, and that each sheep had its individual character.

Surely the fact that sheep seek shelter from extreme weather conditions is indicative of sentience.

Here in the Durham Dales it is bleak with little natural shelter. This wall which runs parallel to the road is a popular spot for sheep to shield themselves from the bitter cold of even a spring wind.

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They know fear: strangers (human or beast) cause them to take flight.  They are also our first line of defense: they warn us about strangers and any human or animal traffic that do not belong here.

They distinguish faces: the outer walls of our house are mainly glass windows and doors – our sheep will scout the house, peeping through every window and door until they locate me with their eyes, and on making eye contact, will add sound and hoof scratches to encourage my urgent attention to their demands which, I want to add, is not always food.  They are just as demanding for attention, ear scratches, body massages, or mere socializing.

Sheep are inquisitive: shopping bags, a car boot full of groceries, what is hidden under my lounge chairs, what lies beneath the bed duvet … they nudge with their noses, sniffing and smelling and will remove chair cushions and bedding to get to the bottom of things.

Extracts from Life in the Countryside read this delightful account after which there surely is not doubt that sheep are sentient beings.*2)

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More wallpaper and other photographs featuring these two adorable lambs may be accessed here and photos of other Swaledale lambs here

You can see a short video of these cute little lambs who came running up to my husband and I: Friendly Lambs. On the same page you will find other videos such as "Curious and playful Spring Lambs" which clearly show that sheep and lambs are sentient; aware, conscious.

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Here is a delightful video of a little black lamb who was rescued from a cruel and certain death who now lives happily and safe at Farm Sanctuary, in the USA. This little creature is surely a sentient being so full of life.

Little Orphan Angelo
A Newborn Lamb’s Close Call

Read Angelo's story here: Rescue & Adoptions | Farm Sanctuary

These little Herdwick sheep are found mostly in the Cambrian Lake district. 

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You can't sneak up on sheep unawares to take a photograph. sheep may seem preoccupied in grazing but the moment you get too close ...

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This Herdwick ewe had worked out that if she hung out near the lay-by she would be fed all kinds of goodies. She was so friendly, totally uninhibited that as soon as you opened the door she poked her head inside

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The photographs below taken by Flickr users clearly demonstrate the curiosity of sheep.

Curiosity is surely an indication that sheep are not the mindless automatons that many people think. Consider that it is in the interest of the farming industry for us to believe that sheep are not sentient, not conscious or aware, do not feel pain, do not suffer. Sheep are indeed very much aware of themselves, one another, other species and their environment and experience a wide range emotions and suffer pain, fear and anxiety, including separation anxiety; a sheep's heart rate increases when he or she is separated from the flock. For an in-depth article on the Sentience of sheep here on this website please click:
Sentient Sheep Also  Sentience in Farm Animals

To read about Farming Sheep : Factory Farming: Sheep
Curious Sheep: a photograph by flickr user cone_dmn:
Curious Tiree Sheep:a photograph by flickr user Pelado

Links to information concerning the sentience of sheep

NEXT time you walk past a field or hillside full of sheep do not suppose that they are busy automatons with eyes only for the next mouthful of grass. They have sensed your presence, identified you as a human and established whether you are moving towards them or not. If you do not pose a threat, they will take stock of which individual animals are in the near vicinity and, providing all seems well, tackle the essential problem of which clump of grass or clover presents the best bet for the next tasty mouthful, or settle down for a spot of rumination. Above all, the sheep is aware of every change in its environment and its senses are geared to assess such changes with optimum speed and accuracy...

Our combined studies of the behaviour of sheep and the way that their brains process important information provide unique insights into the way sheep categorise and learn to recognise important objects in the world they see around them. It turns out that the principles of neural processing embodied in a sheep's brain are remarkably similar to those found in monkeys and probably in humans as well...

Extracts from:

Through a sheep's eye: Sheep use their visual sense to recognise food, friends

This is a fascinating article concerning the complex process of visual recognition in sheep which also has implications for the understanding of visual perception in humans. The information in the article certainly illustrates that sheep are sentient creatures not mindless, automatons without feelings and emotions.

Sheep are gentle, interesting animals who are emotionally complex and highly intelligent. ... recent studies have found that sheep and humans have many things in common

When PETA staff members Carrie and Jackie visited the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Maryland, they found out just how captivating sheep and lambs can be. Playful and puppy-like, the sheep wagged their tails when they were stroked. They affectionately nuzzled and head-butted Carrie and Jackie in order to get their attention.

Extracts from:

Save the Sheep! > Sweet, Smart, Fascinating Sheep

Humans can recognize hundreds, if not thousands of individual faces. Sheep, it appears, may not be far behind.

A team of British scientists has shown that sheep are able to recognize the individual faces of at least 50 sheep and remember them for more than two years.

Extract From:

Sheep Are Highly Adept at Recognizing Faces, Study Shows

Scientists at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge also discovered that sheep react to facial expressions and, like humans, prefer a smile to a grimace.

Further studies which reinforce the notion that sheep are more like us than previously believed involved tests showing they mourn absent individuals. Scientists claim such findings are increasingly challenging the belief that farmyard animals have no 'sense of self', a notion that could have profound implications for the way Britain's creatures are farmed.

Extract From:

Sheep might be dumb ... but they're not stupid | UK news | The Observer

More information

On this website:  Sentient Sheep  Sentience in Farm Animals


1) About Farm Animals



Curious Sheep on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Licensed under creative commons:
Creative Commons — Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Curious Tiree sheep on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Licensed under creative commons: Creative Commons — Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Sentient Sheep Page One

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I am not an animal expert of any kind just your average person who loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in mind that the information included in this website has been researched to the best of my ability and any misinformation is quite by accident but of course possible.

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