Friday, July 9, 2010

Welfare and Ethics

I like to read journal articles. Today I looked up the Journal of Veterinary Behavior and was very happy to find the July/August issued FILLED with articles and abstracts regarding horse welfare and ethics, with much of it pertaining to training and showing.

Dogs are a big industry, but nothing compared to horses. That makes it a little tiny bit easier for some of this research to be carried out. But this also means that the propositions and findings may have bigger impact than if comparable projects were done with dogs.

A constant theme is that we need to look at increasing the use of positive reinforcement. We need to be aware of the dangers to using positive punishment and negative reinforcement. That there are some rules regarding what can't be done in training and competition, but that there's no way to really know what goes on with training. And that people just don't get learning theory! Those in charge of the organizations need to be making rules and regulations and supporting a sport that improves welfare of the animals. We need to look at conflict behaviors seen during competition performances.

Interesting stuff. I'd recommend getting a hold of some of these articles if you can! I hope there's a comparable set of dog articles and abstracts within a few years.

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