Feeding Two Birds With One Scone: Connecting Animal Welfare Concepts With Behaviour Analysis
Alexandra Protopopova (The University of British Columbia)
Biography:Dr. Alexandra (Sasha) Protopopova, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Animal Welfare Program at the University of British Columbia and the NSERC/ BC SPCA Industrial Research Chair in Animal Welfare. Sasha’s research aims are to learn more about dogs, improve animal shelter practices, improve companion animal welfare in shelters, pet homes, and in assistance roles--all within a One Welfare framework. Recently, Sasha has been shifting her research focus on connecting climate change and other societal issues to companion animal welfare. Sasha earned an MSc and a Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis from the University of Florida with Drs. Clive Wynne and Brian Iwata. She spends her days conducting research, teaching university classes in animal learning and animal sheltering, going on hiking trails, and cuddling dogs.
Abstract: Scientists and practitioners in applied animal behaviour analysis frequently work in animal welfare, management, and protection fields. Yet, the verbal behaviour within the scientific discipline of animal welfare science is often at odds with the verbal behaviour of behaviour analysts. In this talk, I draw from my own experiences from working with colleagues in animal welfare science as well as working in animal shelter settings to outline some commonalities and differences in verbal behaviour and recommend some ways to reconcile the differences to allow for effective communication across disciplines. I will outline how different disciplines place different emphasis on the importance of various concepts, such as affective states, consent, choice, cognition, etc., and propose possible solutions to reconcile these differing emphases. I will also argue that a clearer distinction between “procedure” and “behavioural process” will allow for easier communication to not only scientists but also practitioners of animal welfare. After this talk, I hope that listeners will be able to more easily connect verbal behaviour of the discipline of animal welfare science to their own work; likewise, I hope that listeners will improve their own verbal behaviour to not only aid interdisciplinary communication but to also allow for the inclusion of novel concepts to guide our work in improving animal lives.