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The Interactions: Animal Behavior Vs Mankind

2415 words - 10 pages

The Interaction: Animals Behavior and Mankind

Have you ever gone to the zoo and wondered, “What is that animal thinking about? What really is goes on when we are aren’t here staring at them for hours?” The perception people have of modern day zoos is that they are there to save species, protect them from the real world, and just think they are happy as ever. Well if one were to sit down and do some research they would see that they have some much more ethical questions to ask themselves next time they walked into a zoo. But one thing one may not notice is that animals can react differently in their exhibit depending on who is outside the glass watching them. Males or females, old or ...view middle of the document...

The Five Freedoms include: 1) Freedom from thirst and hunger, 2) Freedom from discomfort, 3) Freedom from pain, injury, and disease, 4) Freedom to express most normal behavior, and 5) Freedom from fear and distress. In the past decade, focus on the forth and fifth freedoms, Freedom to express most normal behavior and Freedom from fear and distress, respectively, has really become a interest in for many college graduate students. Animal welfare science focuses on the scientific study of the welfare of animals as pets, in zoos, laboratories, on farms and in the wild with a focus on behavior and psychology.
The focus on captive animals and their behavior raises animal welfare concerns. One can argue if it is fair to subject these animals to unknown tests. When an animal is forced to perform a trick or in a certain way, it waits to be rewarded or punished. Never would one see a human in an exhibit being asked to run around and wave and then given a cookie for it. Animals in captivity no longer are able to have control over their environment and carry out evolved behaviors targeted at enhancing their welfare or survival prospects. Therefore, they must count on humans to provide their physical, social, biological and other needs. If the proper environment is not given to the species-specific needs, there can be deterioration in both physical and mental health such as the development of abnormal behavior. In 1992, Bill Travers, co-founder of the Born Free Foundation, first coined the term ‘zoochosis’ to describe this obsessive, repetitive behavior, and described zoo animals behaving abnormally as ‘zoochotic’. When animals are restricted of movement, trained using negative reinforcement techniques, being trained to preform unnatural behaviors one can have permanent effects and their minds can lapse. One of my sources makes an interesting cross-examination of animal welfare and psychology and suggests that “gender differences” can effect human-animal interactions. Gender Differences in Human-Animal Interactions by Harold Herzog, an animal psychologist writes in several areas of human- animal interaction such as animal treatment, animal testing, animals as pets, animal abuse and animal protection are all viewed differently by gender. Women generally have more positive attitudes towards animals than men in animal’s rights and protection where men have higher levels of negativity towards animal abuse and pet attachment. This then can be put in question in zoo animal treatment. Are the male keepers treating the animals in different manner than the female keepers? By studying the animals in zoos behavior when certain visitors observe them, many questions are raised
When making alterations to the normal physiology of animals to reduce risks when handling it can cause cruel and ongoing distress; hence Freedom Five. Zoo animals exhibit abnormal behavior and it can include stereotypic behaviors, repetitive behaviors, which appear to have no obvious goal or...

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