Surely we should look more to citizen scientists to inform systematic research here and elsewhere. I've learned a lot, for example, about play behavior in dogs by spending countless hours at dog parks, and many colleagues depend on non-researchers to inform their research programs.
Based on this landmark study, I'm sure I'm not alone wondering if -- or, more likely, how -- cows communicate distress when they are raised for meat. Do they moo something like, "Get me the hell out of here now." And, I always note that cows and other "food animals" not only suffer their own stress, abuse, and terror, but also that of others. What are they saying to one another?
I hope this research will be used to learn just what cows and other animals are trying to tell us, as they are prepared, none too gently or humanely, for human meals. There's plenty of evidence that their journey to human forks, knives, spoons, plates, and glasses and cups is not a happy time for them nor for their family or friends, and we must pay attention to what they are telling us. Dairy farms also have a sordid history of habitual and repugnant abuse of cows (please see "New Mexico dairy shuts down after undercover activist videotape"). To quote Matt Rice, director of investigations for Mercy for Animals, "Unfortunately ... every time we go behind closed doors, our investigators emerge with images that shock and horrify most Americans."