Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #206
Behavioral Techniques for Studying Welfare: The Horse as a Model
Sunday, May 30, 2010
1:30 PM–2:20 PM
Ballroom A (CC)
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Jennifer L. Sobie (University of Illinois)
KATHERINE ALBRO HOUPT (Cornell University)
Katherine Houpt, James Law Professor of Animal Behavior, obtained her DVM at The University of Pennsylvania. She received her PhD in biology also at the University of Pennsylvania and since then has been at Cornell University where she established the Animal Behavior Clinic at The College of Veterinary Medicine. She is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, where she was one of the charter diplomats. Dr. Houpt teaches behavior problems of small animals and of horses, as well as farm animal behavior. She has published numerous scientific articles on basic and clinical animal behavior and her textbook, "Domestic Animal Behavior," is now in its fourth edition. Her current research interests are cribbing and foal rejection.
Abstract: Horses have been domesticated for thousands of years, but their ability to adapt to common husbandry practices such as restraint in which they can not turn around, lack of exercise, and social isolation is an ethical concern. This presentation discusses these issues and presents data comparing the behavior of stabled horses with free-ranging Przewalski's horses (the true wild horse) using focal and scan sampling. We have used operant conditioning to measure the strength of horses' preferences for food, freedom, and reunion with another horse. We have also used two choice preferences tests to measure motivation for forced and free exercise. Cribbing, the behavior in which a horse grasps a horizontal surface with his teeth, arches his neck, and swallows air is a common domestic horse stereotypy; we used scan sampling to determine the influence of diet on the frequency of cribbing as well as focal animal sampling and log survivorship to determine bout length. This talk discusses these data and the use of operant conditioning in conjunction with consumer demand theory to measure the motivation of horses to crib and to show that horses are as motivated to crib as to obtain food (an inelastic commodity).



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