Use drones to ethically flock sheep

Credit: CC0 public domain

According to a new study by UNSW Canberra, using UAVs to flock sheep may actually be better for animals than traditional shepherd methods.

Squadron leader Kate Yaxley, a visiting military fellow at UNSW Canbella and one of the principal investigators in the study, said the method of grazing animals has a direct impact on animal welfare.

“Shepherds are an important part of agriculture and a way to guide them to where they need them. Shepherds are cognitive creatures, so consider the welfare of them when we go. Is our social and ethical responsibility to interact with them, “she said.

The purpose of this study, published today by Scientific Reports, is to consider the welfare of sheep and design an autonomous system that allows farmers to use the latest technology, in this case artificial intelligence, while ensuring social and ethical standards. It was to see if it could be done. Responsibility for animals.

“This isn’t a whole new idea, as UAVs are currently used by farmers,” says SQNLDR Yaxley.

“But what we missed was that we didn’t understand how sheep interact with technology and how technology affects their well-being.”

Credits: University of New South Wales

“What we found in this study was that the sheep had a high heart rate when they were shepherd in the traditional way. Therefore, the simple task of moving the sheep to another paddock and feeding it. The act is actually stressing the animal. “

When using a specific sounding UAV to flock sheep, the team was able to reduce stress on the animals.

“Measuring heart rate variability showed that when using a UAV at the right approach speed, the heart rate was much lower and the animal actually responded to the technology. When played, they moved much easier due to their auditory and visual acuity. “

“This is part of ongoing research. In addition, we are focusing on the frequency of the sound it emits, rather than producing a specific sound.”

For SQNLDR Yaxley, this study is part of a long-term vision to confirm that humans and artificial intelligence work together to promote farm welfare.

“It’s all about promoting a positive relationship between farmers, the technology they have available, and animal welfare. I work in different ways, while maintaining a social responsibility for animal welfare and ethics. I want to be able to do that, “she says. Said.

Sheep eyes are the window to their stressed soul

For more information:
Kate J. Yaxley et al. Drone approach that leads to less stressful flock and movement Parameters: Sky Shepherding, Science report (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-021-87453-y

Courtesy of the University of New South Wales

Quote: Sky Shepherding: Use drones to ethically flock sheep (April 8, 2021) April 8, 2021 Obtained from -drones-herd-sheep.html

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Use drones to ethically flock sheep

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