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Why Animal Culture Matters for Animal Welfare Policy by Kristin Andrews
In this talk, Kristin Andrews will discuss why animal culture matters for animal welfare policy. The growing recognition that other animals, like humans, are cultural beings invites us to take a fresh look at what counts as welfare for captive animals. When cultural capacities and practices important to captive animals are impeded or disrupted intentionally (because they appear “abnormal” or threaten health) or unintentionally (because they are not noticed) animal welfare can be negatively impacted. Given animal culture, good behavioral management will include a different way of looking at animals’ social relationships, a different way of looking at enrichment, and an appreciation of the community’s (perhaps distributed) body of knowledge. Broadening the concept of welfare beyond physical health and functioning, affective state, and “natural” behaviors to include something like cultural autonomy has significant ramifications for animal welfare practice and policy. It also raises the question of preserving diverse animal cultures and respecting animal cultural heritage, including recognizing the significant differences between captive and wild animal cultures. Finally, animal culture should lead us to re-evaluate the kinds of information scientists can gain from studying captive animals.

Apr 22, 2022 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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