I have a very specific reason to remember November 11th: it is my daughter's birthday. For society in general, Remembrance Day serves as a poignant reminder of the horrors that war inflicts, and the need to avoid it. On the edge of Hyde Park in London there is another reminder; the Animals In War Memorial testifies to the fact that very many animals suffered and gave their lives in the pursuit of peace. On the battlefield it was horses and dogs but in the air, curiously, it was calves. The intestines ("goldbeater's skin") of some 35 million calves were needed to construct the Zeppelin airships that bombed the south of England (sausage making was even banned as the airships took priority!) So, do cows remember? There can be no doubt that they do, but can it be quantified? Recent research from Japan* revealed retention of feed-related visual cues for at least a year, but also demonstrated that naive cows learnt quickly. I recall that our cows learnt the intricacies of a new automated-tandem milking parlour far quicker than their dairymen did! But memory is quirky. A friend used to take his Setter to a basement bar, and on one occasion the dog slipped on the polished entrance-way. From that point on the dog had always to be carried into the bar, but at the end of the evening would happily run homewards across the same slippery floor! Needless to say, it was an Irish Setter!
* Hirata M & Takeno N (2014) Anim. Sci. J. 85 729-734