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Exotics and Ethics

Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors

Monday, 9 February 2015 from 20:00 to 21:30 (GMT)

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 Exotic pets: ponderings on our profession and our ethics

 In this talk I will consider what we mean by exotic species, and how we need to regard our role in their care and welfare. Few species come to our attention in our role as behaviour counsellors, and then it is likely only a small proportion of individual animals whose behaviour is perceived as problematical by the owner, or is picked up as such when it goes to the veterinary surgery for another reason. Of course, behaviour help will only be sought if an animal deemed suitable / worthwhile for behaviour modification and the owner is amenable to such a therapy route. What happens to the rest, why are they not being treated? As with dogs, cats and horses, there are several potential external and internal factors that influence the owner’s help seeking and compliance behaviour for their pet, but some may be more associated with owners of exotic species such as availability of help and the reasons why an exotic pet was acquired in the first place.

As importantly, if not more importantly is prevention of welfare problems. Is there good prophylactic information available for these species? If not, why not and what is our role as behaviour counsellors (behaviour experts?) in problem prevention? This, I suggest, may not simply be restricted to advising prospective owners about what to do when you own X type of animal, but whether one should own such an animal at all.

 As professionals working in the companion animal field, there is a debate to be had regarding our ethical stance and how this is translated into our professional practice in the real-world ‘politics’ and ‘psychology’ of ownership of exotic species.

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Do you have questions about Exotics and Ethics? Contact Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors

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