Animal Welfare: Could Adult Play be a False Friend?

There is no consensus regarding the functions of play. As play behavior is a characteristic of young stages of development, it has been suggested that the higher prevalence of adult play observed in domestic animals could be the result of their “neotenic retardation.” Functional hypotheses have dealt with the long term benefits, such as “rehearsal,” […]

The effect of penning versus picketing on stereotypic behavior of circus elephants

The behavior of nine female Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants who performed two shows each day with a circus that traveled to a new location (40 to 250 km from the previous day’s lot) daily or every two days was studied during the 1996 and 1998 seasons. When not performing or working, the elephants were picketed […]

Wild Tigers in Captivity: A Study of the Effects of the Captive Environment on Tiger Behavior

Humans maintain wild animals in zoological parks for the purposes of education, conservation, research, and recreation. However, abnormal behaviors may develop in animals housed in human-made environments, if those environments do not allow them to carry out their natural behaviors (such as swimming, climbing, stalking, and predation). Captive environments in zoological parks often do not […]

Fish welfare: Current issues in aquaculture

With the continued growth of the aquaculture industry and increasing scientific discussion over the potential for negative events to give rise to suffering, research into the welfare of cultured fish is vital. How we define and measure welfare is cause for debate, particularly in fish. However, research into the effects of aquaculture procedures on welfare […]

Using The Observer for Animal Behavior Research: Stress and emotions in animals

Animals respond to inputs from their inner and outer environment with physiological and behavioral changes. They try to maintain a stable state by reacting to disturbances of the inner and outer world: their Umwelt. Under natural conditions an animal predicts and controls its Umwelt by feeding, moving, resting, socializing, communicating, etc. It has the freedom […]

Proceedings of The Fifth Annual Symposium on Zoo Research


The Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised: Independent Validation in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

A key feature of autism is restricted repetitive behavior (RRB). Despite the significance of RRBs, little is known about their phenomenology, assessment, and treatment. The Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R) is a recently-developed questionnaire that captures the breadth of RRB in autism. To validate the RBS-R in an independent sample, we conducted a survey within the […]

Eye white may indicate emotional state on a frustration-contentedness axis in dairy cows

Research on welfare indicators has focused primarily on indicators of poor welfare, but there is also a need for indicators that can cover the range from good to poor welfare. The aim of this experiment was to compare behaviour elements in dairy cows shown in response to a frustrating situation as well as elements shown […]

Prevalence and cause of stereotypic behaviour in common wombats (Vombatus ursinus) residing in Australian zoos

Aspects of captive common wombat behaviour were collected through two research experiments to determine the prevalence and cause of stereotypic behaviour in this species. A total of 20 Australian zoos completed a behaviour-based survey, 80% of the total number invited to partake. Additionally, wombat-specific behaviours were video-recorded from 14 individual common wombats housed at three […]

Animal welfare: Concepts and measurement

The term “welfare” refers to the state of an individual in relation to its environment, and this can be measured. Both failure to cope with the environment and difficulty in coping are indicators of poor welfare. Suffering and poor welfare often occur together, but welfare can be poor without suffering and welfare should not be […]