Picking up on a post in Pigs, urging us all to refer to our growers as boars and gilts and not as boys and girls...
I didn't want to hijack the thread there, but I did want to pick up on that point.
We're all entitled to our personal preferences, and to express them, of course. But not, I think, to insist on others following them.
Telling me I mustn't refer to my breeding ewes as "the girls" would be like telling me I mustn't name my breeding sow.
Anthropomorphising is perhaps unhealthy, but referring to our livestock in ways which, to us, confers recognition of their personality, contribution, needs, drivers, whatever, is not, in my view, wrong. A ewe referred to as 'mum' invokes recognition of her maternal instincts, and may result in handling which is more sensitive to her needs than if she were referred to as 'the ewe'. Or not. But I can't see that it does any harm.
I can't give you a reference, so this could be agricultural myth, but I have heard of research which showed that cows given names were more productive than those referred to only by their management numbers. We're beef farmers, and we do not find this at all hard to believe - not because cows like to have their own names (although they do know their own name if you give them one and use it), but because of the subtle difference in the way you treat an animal you refer to and think of by name.