Animal Behavior and Animal Welfare

The author in his introduction highlights the limited purview within which the scientific community has confined its observation of animal behavior so as to satisfy and meet its own selfish criteria in the garb of scientific research. This limited purview might permit us to obtain short term accuracies in scientific studies which measure statistical endpoints but do not reveal the real picture on animal behavior. Animals depending upon their species, natural habitat and brain development level might be capable of higher levels of emotional sensitivity and response to external stimuli which cannot be measured by purely mathematical and statistical endpoints. The author exemplifies the nuances early in his introduction when he elaborates about the highly emotional attachment that a dog ‘Angel’ develops for the author’s family when the real owners are on a trip for a year (Fraser, 2009). On their return the dog, although middle-aged, which suggests that it must be having some memory of the original owners, are reluctant to part company with the authors’ family and displays this by hiding upstairs under a bed and showing extreme reluctance to get into the real owners’ car. This shows that animals are capable of developing emotional and social relationships and not simply guided by instinct and species in their behavioral manifestations. In contrast to this example, the author cites another study in which weaning piglets are discarded by their mothers after a specific elapse of time when they are capable of handling themselves independently. In entirely two different situations the ‘sow-piglet’ relationship follows the exact pattern of predicted behavior by the generally accepted norms of behavioral science data. But the author insists that the study is too limited in its analysis as it does not take the emotional aspects involved into consideration at all. The sows, as well as the piglets, might be experiencing emotions which are imperceptible to the human eye and completely disregarded in an endeavor to satisfy the requirements of the experiment.

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