BDN speaks with Coffin, Knight about farm animal stereotypes

The Bangor Daily News interviewed Donna Coffin, a professor with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and Colt Knight, UMaine extension assistant professor and state livestock specialist, for the article “These farm animal stereotypes are debunked by science.” Contrary to the stereotype that pigs are dirty, they actually are among the cleanest farm animals, according to Coffin and Knight. “Pigs have a few sweat glands, but they’re ineffective at evaporative cooling,” said Knight. “They go wallow or lay in a mud puddle. That’s when they get dirty. When they’re given a choice, [they prefer] to live in a clean dry environment.” And Coffin debunked the stereotype that cows are stupid. “They can be very clever, she said. “We used to have trouble with gates and cows letting themselves out. They have to use all sorts of things to make sure they can’t get gates up.” But the stereotype that chickens are “chicken” is somewhat true. “That comes from the fact that chickens are very reactive and alert. If something scares them, they’ll run away,” said Knight. “Chickens aren’t going to be able to beat up most things so they’re going to elect to run away. That’s mostly just being prey animals.”