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Behaviour

Do Horses Mourn the Loss of Another Horse?

Although there is little research on grief in horses, researchers have documented numerous instances of what looks like grief in a variety of other animals.

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By: Antonia J.Z. Henderson |

Although there is a paucity of research on grief experiences in horses, researchers have documented numerous instances of what certainly looks like grief in a variety of other social animals. Crows seem to pay tribute to their dead, emitting a particular cry that brings others to gather around to place offerings of twigs beside and on top of the body (Marzluff, 2005). Bonobo apes have been witnessed acting out a very human-like rage against death, throwing rocks at the body of a deceased troop mate and pounding on their own and the deceased’s chest (Kluger, 2013). Baboon infants have been observed crying and rocking over the corpse of their dead mother (Kluger, 2013). And there is extensive research on the ceremony, ritual, and seeming reverence with which elephants mourn their dead. There are some good reasons for believing that horses, too, may experience some manifestation of grief. Horses’ propensity to…

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