Probably you read about Gary, the lost African Grey parrot whose microchip enabled a belated return to his original, English-speaking owners. Unfortunately, Gary had long-since abandoned English in favour of Spanish. Who could blame him? All that wing-gesticulating goes down so well with the ladies! Cows do not talk of course, not even in mimicry, and Gary's abilities will never extend to being able to inform any of his owners when he is feeling peaky. More's the pity! A student of mine is currently tackling the fraught bachelor-project topic of "can fish feel pain" (her choice) and she has been astute enough to realise that our perceptions of animal's feelings are influenced by the degree of empathy we feel for them. Personally I am a "soft snout" person and usually find beaks very off-putting, but...I do have to admit to a sense of camaraderie for Gary. So, my question is this: If cows did have the power of mimicry, would we be better able to understand them?