Celozzi, S., Battini, M., Prato-Previde, E. et al. 2022. Humans and goats: Improving knowledge for a better relationship. Animals 12(6), 774.
There is consensus that the quality of the human–animal relationship (HAR) is relevant to guarantee appropriate levels of animal welfare. Given the impact that HAR may have on both goats and human beings, the aim of the present review is to elucidate: (1) how humans and goats communicate; (2) which are the factors affecting human–goat interactions; (3) how we can measure the quality of this relationship. The systematic review led to the selection of 58 relevant articles. Effective human–goat communication takes place by means of visual, tactile and auditory stimuli and, to a less extent, via olfactory and gustative stimuli. Goats have well-developed socio-cognitive abilities and rely on humans to get relevant information. A deep knowledge of goats’ communication means and socio-cognitive abilities may greatly help improving the human–goat relationship. Management practices (e.g., rearing methods, amount and quality of interactions), as well as genetic selection for suitable individual traits, may contribute to improving HAR. Several measures to assess the quality of HAR have been validated, including avoidance in the pen and at the feeding rack and latency to first contact. Finally, farmers’ attitudes and empathy with goats, as well as their motivation to work with animals, should be improved through appropriate training.